German aircraft manufacturer – Volocopter says it will be partnering with the agricultural and industrial heavy equipment company, John Deere to develop an aerial crop-dusting system.
The VoloDrone, which Volovopter unveiled at the end of October, has 18 rotors and a fully electric power system that can provide up to 30 minutes of flight time for the aircraft and carry up to 440 lbs.
It is designed to operate fully autonomously along a set path, or be piloted remotely for manual control if needed.
John Deere, will be equipping the VoloDrone with a sprayer and tank array mounted to its cargo connection points, which will be able to dispense pesticides , liquid fertilizer AND anti-frost agents for unseasonable inclement weather.Both partners also see potential in applications like sowing seeds for new crops from the air. Volocopter says the VoloDrone will be potentially a better, more precise and more cost-effective alternative to using a helicopter for these applications.The company will be working with John Deere to test and prove that out with initial pilots to be conducted during the next agricultural growing season.