Global agricultural drone company XAG says that that its P40 and V40 drones have been granted the UK’s first-ever Operational Authorization from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for agricultural spraying operations.
According to the company and its partner, AutoSpray Systems, the move opens the way for drone spraying and spreading on UK farms, allowing agriculture to embrace automation and AI to help meet its goals for net-zero.
XAG points out that drone’s take-off weights have been limited to less than 25kg and dropping materials from drones has also been prohibited. Although farmers have a growing demand for intelligent production tools, CAA rules did not allow agricultural drones to fulfil their potential on UK farmland.
The company says that the change in rules comes with the release of the UK Government’s ambition statement and vision for commercial drones. ‘CAA started to consider granting Operational Authorization to heavier spray drones,’ the company said in a statement. ‘XAG’s autonomous drones for agriculture can spray and spread precisely straight to the target. They not only conform to the operational safety standards, but also help farmers boost yields with less input.
‘Drones deliver clear environmental benefits in agriculture. Running on batteries, the electric XAG Agricultural Drone reduces diesel use and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It is designed for precision, with RTK centimetre-level navigation, to decrease the amount of chemicals used. Also, aerial operations protect the soil from compaction. Typical applications for drones include plant protection spraying, fertilizer spreading, broadcast sowing, and greenhouse shading.’