Robotics and Autonomous Equipment
“Agriculture has the desired market dynamics” for an entrepreneur to enter and make money, he said. The size of the market is great for an entrepreneur. The two components of BOSH in agriculture is providing UAS imaging from multispectral sensors and crop spraying from an unmanned helicopter. Kim expects to determine where a crop is unhealthy and then help do something about it.
Kim has several reasons that an unmanned helicopter fits into large field operations. His list includes better quality of spraying with down force from the helicopter rotor, elimination of wheel crush effect of the crop, eliminating cross contamination from one field to the next, safety of a no human low-altitude fast maneuvering helicopter, ability to program optimum height for controlled drift, night application when many crop protection products work best and allows a much longer application window per day and finally more efficient flying than a manned unit as the unmanned helicopter flies forward and backward without turning around to go down rows.
U.S. regulations are a hindrance that other countries don’t put on UASs. “There are more than 2,700 of these (small) crop sprayers flying today in Japan. There are more than 15,000 licensed operators in Japan just doing crop spraying, primarily spraying rice in small plots,” Kim said. The unmanned helicopters are typically about 360 pounds and eight feet long.
Kim foresees full-sized autonomous helicopters flying everywhere to service growers’ needs, and he wants regulations to allow this as soon as possible. It’s not the technology that is limiting progress.