China’s XAG has announced that its agricultural drones – P40 and V40 – have been granted operational authorization by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the U.K. for agricultural spraying operations. Through the efforts of XAG’s partner, AutoSpray Systems, drone spraying and spreading on farms has become legal in the U.K., giving farms the ability to embrace automation and AI for net-zero goals.
In the U.K., applications of drones are strictly regulated by the CAA, with a drone’s takeoff weight limited to under 25 kg, and dropping materials from drones is also prohibited. The U.K. government released an ambition statement and vision for commercial drones, after which CAA started to consider granting Operational Authorization to heavier spray drones, XAG said. It added that its autonomous drones for agriculture can spray and spread precisely straight to the target, helping farmers to boost yields with less input.
Agricultural areas in the U.K. account for 71% of the land total, putting more pressure on the environment. The government also released sustainable farming incentives, where farmers will be paid up to £40/hectare for the effective improvement of soil health and for mitigating climate change during production.
XAG said U.K. farmers traditionally use large tractors or self-propelled sprayers in their operations. In addition to higher costs, the use of heavy ground machinery is limited to the rainy climate and mountainous terrain. XAG said an alternative solution is to apply a fully autonomous drone to reach and treat previously inaccessible land with no damage.
For more details on the XAG drones, visit its website here.