‘Swarm’ Drone Technology
Trial conducted by Hinkler AgTech Initiative.
The purpose of this trial was to test the effectiveness of using multiple drones for spraying in order to reduce time. Potential benefits include cost and risk reduction by not having to perform spraying over multiple days.
In this trial, qualified operators flew XAG P30 drones in ‘swarm’ formation. Two operators flew four drones to spray herbicide on 40ha of sweet potatoes and three drones to spray pesticide on 30ha of lucerne.
Key findings included:
- The 40ha of sweet potatoes was sprayed in 4 hours – approximately 1/4 of the time it would take a single drone
- A single drone would have had to have been deployed over multiple days increasing the risk of inclement weather disrupting the spraying program
- The 30haof lucerne was sprayed in just 3 hours
- Note: Due to soil saturation spraying could not have been done at all by tractor in both cases