John Deere and Volocopter

Large Drone for Agriculture

08. November 2019, 09:47 Uhr   |  Heinz Arnold

Large Drone for Agriculture
© Volocopter

The VoloDrone is equipped with a standardized mounting system that allows easy installation of various devices and can remain in the air for 30 minutes.

John Deere and Volocopter have developed the first large drone for agricultural use: the VoloDrone.

Both companies are demonstrating a demonstrator equipped with the John Deere crop protection sprayer for the first time in AGRITECHNICA's Future Technology Zone at the Hanover trade fair. This VoloDrone is fully functional and ready for first use. With a possible payload of 200 kg, the drone achieves a high area performance, especially under difficult operating conditions.

This first large drone developed for agricultural use is the result of intensive cooperation between John Deere and Volocopter. The VoloDrone is the result of John Deere's extensive experience in agriculture and Volocopter's experience with the entire technology of flying taxis.

Large drones are becoming more and more important in the field of logistics as well as passenger transport. In contrast, small drones are currently used in agriculture for stock control and mapping.
Volocopter has now for the first time developed a large drone equipped with a John Deere crop protection sprayer. Both companies see great potential for using the VoloDrone in agriculture. The development of this prototype is a first step to present this new technology to the market and to be able to test the VoloDrone promptly under real conditions.
The VoloDrone has a wide range of applications in agriculture. This begins with use in difficult terrain and extends to increased efficiency in the use of crop protection agents.
The VoloDrone is driven by 18 rotors and has a diameter of 9.2 m. The VoloDrone is equipped with an integrated rotor system. It has a fully electric drive with replaceable lithium-ion batteries. One battery charge allows a flight time of up to 30 minutes. The VoloDrone can be operated remotely or automatically on a pre-programmed route.
The VoloDrone is equipped with a standardized mounting system that allows easy mounting of different devices for a variety of applications. For crop protection, the large drone is equipped with two crop protection containers, a pump and a spray bar. Thanks to the low flight altitude, exceptionally large area outputs of up to 6 ha per hour can be achieved and spray management improved. Due to the higher flexibility and the GPS control, specific treatments are also possible. This makes the VoloDrone a sustainable, effective and extremely economical alternative to helicopters.
In the coming cultivation cycles, appropriate flight and application tests will be carried out.

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