Drone has certainly changed the world drastically. It changes the way we take aerial images (in the process, making to-hire helicopters and telescopic booms obsolete) and lets ordinary folks reach out to places previously unaccessible to do things like building inspection, disaster area observation and whatnot. To say that a drone changed the way we live is definitely not an exaggeration. And of late, farmers in the agriculture industry also discover the benefit of drones – thanks to DJI MG-1S agriculture drone. This particular specialist multicopter is designed specifically to cover large parcel of crops in short amount of time, saving manpower and time.
With 22 lbs (10 kg) of payload, and sophisticated sensors and flight control system, the MG-1S is capable of covering 65-80 acres of crop-filled land in a single day pretty much handsfree. Thanks to the onboard radar system, the aircraft is able to maintain the exact altitude regardless of the land elevation. The aircraft is equipped with four replaceable ceramic nozzles – a pair up front and another pair to the rear – for dispatching the liquid. Speaking of spraying, the rate of spray and the aircraft speeds are actually tied together and what this means is, in the event of irregular winds which cause inconsistent flight speeds, the MG-1S will not overspray or under spray.
And being a drone, the area to be covered can be preset so there’s no actual manual intervention unless necessary. Because of MG-1S, it has spur the start of a new industry that leverages on the drone to provide services to farmers in China. You can learn more about how drone changes the future of farming in the embedded video below. However, deploying liquid from up above is not entirely new. In fact, the Japanese have been at it for over two decades using remote control helicopters. Yamaha is one of the company providing such services and just last year, the company has begun “limited” precision agriculture services in Northern California’s vineyard.
But the Japanese company’s Yamaha RMax unmanned helicopter is not as handsfree as DJI’s solution. It takes a skilled pilot to manual pilot the remote aircraft to dispense the liquid over the vineyard. Unlike DJI’s solution, Yamaha RMax unmanned helicopter is not for sale. Instead, Yamaha is running a service, presumably due to the obvious high level of technicality required to maintain and fly it. That said, as it appears, DJI’s proposition could be the winning solution in long run. But seriously, in the age of multi-rotor flying crafts, why Yamaha still chose the helicopter route really boggles my mind. Ok, may helicopter of that size does have payload advantage, but the risk is high since human error in remotely control helicopter is not uncommon and plus the level of skill required means only Yamaha can do it, and this also means higher cost for farm owners.
Images: screengrab from YouTube video.