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John Deere and Volocopter present heavy-lift drone for agriculture

John Deere and Volocopter introduced the first large drone adapted for agricultural use at Agritechnica.

Featuring a potential payload of 200kg, the VoloDrone is able to cover an enormous area, especially under difficult operating conditions, according to John Deere and Volocopter.

Great potential

Both companies see great potential for the VoloDrone’s use in agriculture, with capabilities ranging from difficult topography to increased efficiency in the use of crop protection agents, sowing seeds or frost control.

The development of the VoloDrone, which is a demonstrator model, is a first step towards bringing this innovative technology closer to commercial application after full testing in the field.

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The VoloDrone is powered by 18 rotors with an overall diameter of 9.2m, and features a fully electric drive using exchangeable lithium-ion batteries. - Photos: John Deere
The VoloDrone is powered by 18 rotors with an overall diameter of 9.2m, and features a fully electric drive using exchangeable lithium-ion batteries. - Photos: John Deere

18 rotors

The VoloDrone is powered by 18 rotors with an overall diameter of 9.2m, and features a fully electric drive using exchangeable lithium-ion batteries. One battery charge allows a flight time of up to 30 minutes, and the VoloDrone can be operated remotely or automatically on a pre-programmed route.

The drone frame is equipped with a flexible standardised payload attachment system. This means that different devices can be mounted on the frame depending on the application. For crop protection, the drone is equipped with 2 capacity tanks, a pump, and a spray bar.

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For crop protection, the drone is equipped with 2 capacity tanks, a pump, and a spray bar.
For crop protection, the drone is equipped with 2 capacity tanks, a pump, and a spray bar.

Area coverage of up to 6ha/hr

Thanks to the drone’s low flight altitude, a very large area coverage of up to 6ha/hr can be achieved and spray management improved. This makes the VoloDrone a sustainable, precise, and cost-effective alternative to helicopters. Due to the system’s high flexibility and GPS control, more selective area-specific treatments are also possible, say John Deere and Volocopter.

Appropriate flight and application tests will be carried out with the demonstrator VoloDrone sprayer over the next growing season.

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