Aliaksei Stratsilatau, UAVOS Cofounder and Lead developer.
Based on our knowledge and experience of using UAV in agriculture, we can say that at current time there is a strong demand for the services of an unmanned aircraft in agricultural work, and today it is not fully met.
It happens due to certain factors:
- Current environmental regulations set the conditions for spraying ultra-small volumes of chemicals, which makes pilots fly 5-8 meters low above the ground.
As a result, pilots get tired very quickly, and the flight duration can’t last more than 2 hours. In addition, due to the low altitude there is an increased risk for pilots.
- Danger for a pilot to inhale hazardous substances. Therefore, it is difficult to find those who are ready to do such work.
Based on our experience, we know that the use of a chemical sprayer bar shorter than 7m is not economically feasible (the flight time is long and the dispersion area is small).
We offer our customers to use Robinson 22 converted into R22-UV unmanned helicopter to deliver chemicals to the field. Moreover, there is ready-to-use standard agricultural equipment for installation on a Robinson helicopter.
A very important parameter is the weight of the chemicals as a payload. Which is quantity. This fact also directly affects the economic efficiency of the project. A helicopter needs some time to fly to the work area, and then return. For small aircraft, at a spraying rate of 2 liters per minute, it is obvious that more time will be spent on take-off/landing/refueling. With a load of 20 liters, a small UAV can work only 10 min.
Benefits of using Robinson 22 convertible helicopter:
- Ability to fly in the dark. It is known that dark time is the best time for fertilizer treatment, since chemicals do not dry in the sun and, as a rule, there are no strong winds at this time.
- The flight time of an unmanned helicopter is not limited by pilot’s fatigue.
- In the event of an accident there is no danger of a pilot’s death.
- The entire chemical application cycle (accuracy, quantity, coordinates) is confirmed by flight telemetry, and after that an electronic report is sent to the customer. The accuracy of the positioning of the helicopter can be a few dozen cm.
- Since the onboard navigation equipment calculates the wind direction, this data can be used to adjust the flight route. Radio altimeter provides high accuracy around the terrain.
- Due to the fact that the pilot seats are removed from the helicopter, the R22-UV avionics can take 88 kg of chemicals. The maximum weight of an UAV payload is 176 kg. Weight of the Spray System Equipment - 42 kg.