DJI eyes commercial sector with $15,000 crop-spraying drone

By Shawn Knight
Nov 27, 2015
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  1. The FAA estimates that as many as one million new drones could be taking to the skies by Christmas. With a mandatory registration process pending, however, the future of consumer drones is more or less etched in sand. On the commercial side, meanwhile, business looks promising and DJI wants in on the action.

    The Chinese drone maker’s latest creation, the Agras MG-1, is a task-oriented aerial drone designed specifically for the agriculture industry. The eight-rotor drone packs a 2.6-gallon spray tank that farmers can use to spray pesticides on crops.

    DJI told The Wall Street Journal that the drone has a typical takeoff weight of 49 pounds and can remain in flight for about 12 minutes per charge. The publication said the Argas MG-1 can spray pesticide on seven to 10 acres of land per hour – the variance due to how often it needs to ascend, descend or turn to follow the terrain.

    While a typical consumer-minded drone from DJI can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, the company plans to charge much more for this dust-proof, water resistant machine built from anti-corrosive materials. According to the Journal, it’ll be priced at roughly $15,000.

    The farmer-friendly drone will first go on sale in China and South Korea before expanding to other markets at a later date.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Maniac Posts: 519   +139

    12 minute charge... but claims 7-10 acres per hour...

    Sounds more like 1 to 2 acres/hour unless you buy 5 or 6 extra batteries.
    Uncle Al and Skidmarksdeluxe like this.
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,455   +1,758

    Call me old fashioned but:
    You get your neighbor (farmers) together, chip in, pay the pilot a days wage and plane rental, and get god knows how many acres sprayed per hour

    Besides, Y'all know and acre is just over a 200' square, right? (43560 sq. ft.)

    (I let Window's calculator do the precise square root for ya)! You're welcome :).> 208.710325571113
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
    H3llion likes this.
  4. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,335   +1,937

    15 grand? Way too much! It'll be cheaper to do it the good old fashioned way, not to mention far quicker.
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,455   +1,758

    "Forty-one percent of U.S. total land area is farmland (938.28 million acres). In 1900, the average farm size was 147 acres, compared to 441 acres today."

    Ya think? ;)(y)
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
  6. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,494   +669

    AND you would have to probably go out into the field with extra batteries and chemicals to refill both, unless of course you have short fields with plenty of roadways inbetween. I'd be interrested to hear what the normal charge per acre standard crop dusters charge .... with the wear and tear, life span, new batteries regularly, etc, etc, I am not sure the drone is going to bring much to the table (no pun exactly intended ... )
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,455   +1,758

    OK first, you know the drone's alleged spraying coverage, is optimistically based on 100% air time.

    If it's true the average farm in the US is 414 acres, AND we concede the lower coverage estimate of the drone is available, (6 acres @ hour), then it would require 69 hours to spray it. It likely isn't, and perhaps even 5 acres @ hour is charitable, then you come up with more than 80 hours of air time, or 2 full weeks of man hours work.

    Somebody has to baby sit the thing, somebody has to refill it. Whoever was tasked with that job, wouldn't be able to accomplish much in the interim. Remember, the stupid thing is only in the air 12 minutes at a crack.

    During the growing season, some insecticides are scheduled on intervals of perhaps as short as 10 days. I expect many farm co-operative groups have running contracts with agricultural aviation companies. The farmers probably don't even have to call, just remember to take a respirator with them to the field with you when you know the crop duster is coming, and pay your bill at the end of the month.

    My burglar alarm contract expired recently. It was an old hard wired system, connected to a landline. To arm it, all I had to do was push the "on" button, and walk to the door..

    It's much more "technically advanced" wireless successor, requires 9 touches across 4 screens to get me out the door.

    The news articles about how computers are going to improve our lives, gets more ridiculous and far fetched daily, and are increasing on an alarming and exponential basis.:mad:
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
    Uncle Al likes this.
  8. Nilbud

    Nilbud TS Enthusiast Posts: 32   +10

  9. infiltrator

    infiltrator TS Booster Posts: 140   +21

    $15,000 dollars, are you out of your F***ing mind? I rather build my own drones, which will turn out to be a lot cheaper... Plus I am a big supporter for Opensource drones, proprietary stuff just cost too much money.
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,455   +1,758

    Trust me, it is with great reluctance I ask this, but does that mean your version would be unsuitable for the task as well?

    I understand the drones are hip right now, but he math simply isn't there to suggest a "toy" on this scale would be capable servicing a farm of even medium size.

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