The Start-up

We are a start-up Drone4Agro and we are aiming to develop a fully certified drone for agricultural applications that can carry 100 kg payload with a flight duration of 20 minutes. In our team we have a full range of expertise fields to carry out this task.
Over the last years we have developed and tested many scaled proof-of concept models in order to prove that our ideas work. Currently we are testing programmed flight. The drone will have substantial markets in North America, Middle East, and other emerging market economies. Preliminary studies in some export market crops clearly show the advantage: it can reduce production costs by 50% and increase crop yields by 20 %.

We have set up a company with the team of expert engineers in aviation, robotics, agriculture and manufacturing:

- Winfried Rijssenbeek
- Marko Stamenovic
- Predrag Devic
- Abeje Mersha
- Adnan Shafiq

We have built up a huge network with aviation certifiers, farmer organizations and suppliers. We are working together with Universities of Wageningen (precision agriculture), Twente (Aerodynamics), Delft (Robotics) and others.

In 2 years we will make an internationally certified drone for agriculture, the flying work-horse for agriculture. With the award we can materialize our dream. We are aiming for an EU project support and have a business plan available for angel investors and crowd funding hunters.

Service needs

According to FAO, food production is to be increased to 70% to cover the needs in 2050. This means a serious challenge. Current agricultural production trends replace labor by mechanical equipment, like tractors and harvesting machines.  But this heavy equipment also leads to destruction of soils and environmental pollution by the use of agro chemicals for plagues, disease and weed control.

Today consumers globally have clear demands on the how of agricultural production. It should use less fossil fuels, less chemicals for crop protection, maintain soil quality and more space for nature.

Proposed solution

The answer to this quest is precision agriculture: in this, crops are planted under GPS rows and given treatments against weeds, insect plagues or plant diseases only there where needed.   Precision agriculture is at its infancy, but it will be the way of agricultural production in future. Highly efficient production can be reached. The basis of it is robotics.

Our solution: a drone with programmed flight carrying out all crop care tasks between sowing and harvesting. With on board cameras it can recognize weeds, diseases and act by spraying with chemical/biological means, only where needed. Advantages: environmentally friendly, enabling beneficial practices like avoiding tractor trail surface loss and soil compaction, and available 24/7.  It also allows the use of inter-cropping, thereby reducing risks of monoculture vulnerability of disease and plagues.

The Drone4Agro is a multicopter drone is  vehicle with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) ability  that enables you to carry up to 100 kg of payload depending on version through the air for the agricultural applications. The main advantage over the helicopter is the fact that:

  • The drone is 24/7 operational as it is remotely piloted;
  • The drone is much lower in costs
  • The precision of the drone in dusting is high: with GPS the accuracy is high and it flies according to a GPS planned scanning of the fields
  • The drone is a much smaller vehicle with length and width of 3 by 2,5 meters, also easier and less expensive for maintenance. It doesn’t require any kind of runway, or an aircraft hangar like today’s modern general aviation airplanes.
  • As compared to tractors and their implements it does not create soil compaction or need wheel trails that occupy space where plants could have grown and often result in disease areas.

We hope that we can work together with different teams around the globe who share this dream:

  • Certification bodies who can constructively advice on the airworthiness of the craft.
  • Test and Build prototypes with local funding
  • Work out the issues, like safety (eg. parachute, airbags) battery technology, range extender, flight duration time, etc.

The product

We designed the Proof of Concept  to be flexible. With 24 motors arranged in 12 coaxial groups the drone can keep level flight with even a few motors out of function. Our fly-by-wire system provides automatic control adjustment in order to maintain controllable and stable flight. In the case of more serious failure optional built-in rocket parachute can be deployed providing safe landing.

Maximum available lift capability of is approximately twice of aircraft take-off weight (180kg cca) in order to have sufficient thrust for climb and maneuvering.

Our drone is a flying tractor with robot features. It can carry different implements up to a 80 kg with some 20 min flight time with batteries, extendable to 1.5 hrs with a range extender. It is the flying work-horse for precision agriculture. It is designed to be robust and to provide protection against rotating propellers so that it can operate in typical agricultural environment. Our drone can also have the whole range of applications outside of agriculture.

With sufficient financial backup we hope to develop this proof of concept further and widen both flight envelope and fields of applications.

Agridrone Valck:  Manufacturing

So we invite you to join the effort and to discuss possible contribution to the project. If you are interested don’t hesitate to contact us! We can also skype!

Please visit our Media and Products pages for more detailed information.

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