Robinson helicopter converted for UAV precision farming

October 17, 2019  - By

UAVOS has added the R22-UV unmanned helicopter to its agriculture unmanned aircraft portfolio for spraying for diseases, weed and pest control, and vegetation control.

The R22-UV is a manned Robinson-22 helicopter converted by UAVOS to an unmanned aircraft. (Photo: UAVOS)

The R22-UV is a manned Robinson-22 helicopter converted by UAVOS to an unmanned aircraft. (Photo: UAVOS)

The Agro-Drone R22-UV is equipped with a specially developed utility to deliver liquid chemicals — the spray system Simplex model 222.

The R22-UV drone is provided with a 100-liter tank for chemicals and can stay airborne for two hours. Weight of the system is 42 kilograms, boom span is 7 meters, and swath width is 14 to 16 meters.

UAVOS listed several advantages that could maximize the value of such a heavy UAV for farmers:

  • The R22-UV can be operated in the regions without airfields, under severe weather conditions and during night-time, in conditions with a high probability of risk for the pilot.
  • UAVs are excellent for operations in conditions of high humidity, where the use of ground equipment is impossible or difficult. Unlike heavy machinery, which cannot go into a field immediately after a heavy rain, UAV has no impact on the ground. Drone sprayers don’t touch the ground so there will be less soil compaction. This is when heavy machinery like tractors roll over the soil, pressing it down and damaging it. Farmers can fix this with plowing, but it can be harmful to the soil over a long period of time.
  • UAV implementation eliminates manual spraying with backpack sprayers, so workers don’t come into contact with hazardous chemicals.
  • UAVs also enable growers to spray their crops precisely and at will, which is critical for fighting herbicide-resistant weeds. Spraying is better. The rotor of an agricultural drone produces a huge downward rotation force, which promotes the pesticide droplets to penetrate the crop from top to bottom, which is conducive to the pesticide droplets evenly scattered in all parts of the plant, so that the spraying is accurate.
  • Unmanned aircraft can be used for spot spraying weeds with herbicides and are useful for spraying crops with pesticides. A spot-oriented approach based on preliminary analysis of digital images from robot cameras minimizes the cost of agrochemicals, reducing the chemical impact on soil, water, culture and, ultimately, on the consumer’s body, while achieving higher results of crop cultivation than with traditional approaches. The aircraft can be set on a predetermined GPS-defined route to fly over a field, dropping doses of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides as it flies.

“Precision agriculture is based on the use of valuable metrics to make farmers’ crop management efficient and optimized,” said Aliaksei Stratsilatau, CEO of UAVOS. “Validating-of-damage reports used to be on paper. So, unmanned aircraft help our customers to validate the veracity of reports so that we could come up with a comprehensive solution. Generally, agriculture is very complex and there are a lot of problems, but there are solutions available through the new technology.”

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.