Drones for Spraying Are Evolving

By Tim Hammerich with the Ag Information Network

When Precision AI set out to start a drone spraying company, they knew they’d need to develop the software, but thought the hardware would be available off the shelf.

McCann… “When we started this process, it was sorta like, well, there’s gotta be drones out there that can do this. And we found out very quickly that to be able to do everything we needed to do there really wasn’t. And so we actually ended up having to build our own drone,” said Precision AI CEO Daniel McCann.

McCann… “Subsequent to that, another company came out with a drone that was powerful enough to do what we want to do. And we’re like, hallelujah, we don’t have to be a drone manufacturer. And so we switched to their platform and sort of hot-rodded that that platform, and then found a whole pile of other problems. And so we’ve kind of come full circle again. We’ve come back to designing our own drone for this particular application.”

As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, McCann and his team also needed to design a new camera to get to the resolution they needed.

McCann… “In order to be able to properly differentiate between plants, you need to see like some millimeter resolution and none of these drone platforms can do that. They’re all meant to fly 400 feet up in the air and get these wide, broad brush views of your field. Not enough to differentiate between plant species. And just lowering them doesn’t really work. The number of inventions we had to string together to try to achieve this vision was actually, you know, if I want to do it all over again, with the eyes that I have now, it was a bit crazy.”

McCann thinks the hard work will pay off resulting in the most effective drone sprayer on the market.