Science

DJI Launches Drones That Spray Pesticides

By Paul Pajarillo , Nov 30, 2015 09:20 PM EST

The tech company based in China, DJI, designs a drone especially made for agricultural purposes. The Agras MG-1 is a drone that sprays pesticides on farm crops and has a built-in camera to monitor agricultural pests.

DJI has made its mark in the business by designing state-of-the-art unmanned vehicle systems. The company's latest drone model may be the key to the future of unmanned flying vehicles as it unveils Agras MG-1.

Agras MG-1 is an eight-rotor unmanned flying vehicle that can provide farmers a safe alternative on spraying pesticides on farm crops. It is said to replace old farming methods of spraying chemicals such as handheld sprayers that dispense chemicals from backpacks, small planes and vehicles that are used for the chemical spraying methods -- leaving farmers exposed to chemical hazards.

With the drone Agras MG-1, farmers can spray pesticides on crops without them being exposed to hazards. It can cover more or less 7 to 10 acres of farmland via remote control or with a use of a smartphone to navigate it.

The new agricultural unmanned flying vehicles will be sold and tested first in South Korea and China before they head out to other countries. It is said to have a price tag of $15,000 each.

Accel Partners raised $75 million for DJI to build an ecosystem for drone developers along with its software to focus on different areas. Other unmanned flying vehicle makers include aircraft manufacturer Yuneec that received $60 million from the venture along with Ghost Drone-maker EHANG that received $42 million.

DJI's Agras MG-1 may not look as exciting as the other potential industrial drones that are used in e-commerce deliveries or aerial photography, but these agricultural drones may be expected to become the biggest leap for the drone industry as these could account for 80 percent of its market, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. However, it is also noted that although it reduces the amount of time that farmers are exposed to harmful pesticide chemicals, this method may be too expensive for farmers compared to traditional methods of growing farm crops.

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