U.S. start-up company Pyka has developed the world’s first commercially available electric and autonomous aircraft. Together with Embraer it will make the so-called Pelican, which can be used for crop spraying, available to farmers worldwide.
EmbraerX, part of Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer and Pyka, an American start-up focusing on autonomous aviation, announced a partnership in autonomous aerial agriculture operations. The collaboration is focused on the technology, certification, operations, and future commercialisation of Pyka’s Pelican, a 100% electric and autonomous fixed-wing agricultural aircraft.
The technology package includes flight control software, on-board computers, high energy density batteries, robust engine controllers and carbon fiber fuselages certified to enable all-electric aircraft.
The companies are working together to accelerate the launch of this autonomous solution for the precision agriculture market globally. According to Embraer and Pyka the Pelican can increase productivity, cost efficiency, safety and sustainability due to its unmanned operation, electric systems and high precision remote sensing.
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The companies expect to leverage autonomous commercial services as the Pelican aircraft operation arrives in Brazil soon. The model is already being used by Pyka customers in Central America, where more than 3,000 missions were completed.
“We are extremely excited to partner with one of the world’s largest aerospace companies to realize our vision of bringing an electric aircraft to everyday use,” added Michael Norcia, CEO and co-founder of Pyka.
He said their focus is certification and delivering a “spectacular autonomous and electric aircraft” to serve farmers. “We are now teaming up with an industry leader in one of the world’s largest agricultural markets to help scale our electric aircraft business”, Norcia said.