Crop-spraying Agro drone

agro drone

According to Latvian entrepreneur Elviss Straupenieks, it costs about US$65,000 a year to pesticide-spray an average-size vineyard using a helicopter. His alternative? Well, he claims that his company's AirBoard Agro drone can do it for half as much – plus it offers a few other advantages.

Although we have seen crop-spraying drones before, the electric Agro is reportedly able to cover much more ground per charge. This is said to be due to its in-house-designed battery, along with its power-saving speed control systems – one charge is good for a claimed 15 minutes of flight time, or coverage of about 2 acres (0.8 hectares).

agro drone

Flying over vineyards autonomously, the Agro uses downward-facing radar to maintain a constant height above the plants – even on sloping hillsides. This reportedly allows for much more precise application of pesticide than is possible using a higher-flying helicopter. As a result, less pesticide needs to be applied, which is both cost-effective and (relatively) better for the environment.

Straupenieks tells us that AirBoard has started deploying its drones in European vineyards this year, as a pay-per-use service. And while manual spraying by ground-based workers is certainly another alternative to helicopters, Elviss says that his product is much faster, and minimizes laborers' exposure to hazardous chemicals.