Yamaha Motor Co. said Friday that it will launch its first drone for agricultural use in March 2019.
The company aims to sell 500 units of the YMR-08 in 2019 and 1,000 units in 2021 amid growing demand for labor savings when it comes to the spraying of pesticides, due to a decline in the number of farmers.
It aims to win a 50 percent share of the market for agricultural drones.
Yamaha Motor has managed operations involving small remote-controlled helicopters for agricultural use for 30 years.
Drones are more suitable than helicopters for use at small farms in cities and mountainous regions, according to the company.
The YMR-08, which can spray one hectare with agricultural chemicals during a 15-minute flight on a single charge, is priced at ¥2,754,000, the company said. A device to spray pesticides will be sold separately.
Yamaha Motor plans to hold seminars on how to use the drone at 25 sites nationwide.
Japanese firms lag behind some companies in China and other foreign countries in the development and sales of drones.
Katsu Nakamura, senior general manager of Yamaha Motor’s division for unmanned systems, said the company has taken awhile to launch an agricultural drone because it “took time to examine the benefits (of the product) without giving up (development) by the company itself.”
“We hold the lead in spraying devices,” Nakamura said, adding that he’s eager to recover from setbacks in the field.
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