Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Drones For Agriculture Demonstrated At IFAS

IMMOKALEE, FL. -- Unmanned Aerial Vehicles may soon be coming to farm fields as Kiwi Technologies out of Malden, Massachusetts continues it's research on manufacturing and operating large drones capable of spraying farm fields at costs comparable to planes and helicopters.

Robotic whiz and President and CEO of the two-year old company, Adam Bercu and Business Development head Will Chen gave a live demonstration before several dozen local farmers of their 250 pound, 12 propeller drone Monday afternoon at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences campus near Immokallee, Florida.

Bercu has lots of experience with robotics, his robots have been nationally televised on the program "Battlebots," and has worked as a mechanical and neurotechnology engineer, studying at Harvard.

Chen is a data scientist, and combining talents with a small ground crew are now traveling the country giving demonstration flights of the unique UAV.
Photo credit: Barbara Whelan

Capable of carrying up to 20 gallons of chemicals currently, the drone operator can program the aircraft to spray unusual sized or shaped fields where traditional aircraft can't efficiently operate.

The KIWI Aerial Utility Vehicle uses GPS with lidar and microwave sensors moving along about 12 feet above the ground at about 15 mph, spraying in this demonstration, a load of water.

The company is working through the complexities of getting licenses to spray agricultural chemicals in different localities and is seeking farming partners to use the drone in a spray application capacity, traveling to farms with their equipment, computer mapping out spraying patterns, applying the chemicals, fine tuning the system and working with regulatory authorities on the rules for ag product application by drones.

More info: spraywithkiwi.com

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