John Deere, a world leader in advanced products and services for the agriculture industry, has teamed up with German startup, Volocopter, to develop an aerial crop-dusting system called VoloDrone.

VoloDrone was recently demonstrated at the global agricultural engineering tradeshow, Agritechnica. The unmanned craft can cover large areas under difficult operating conditions and diverse topography.  It has an unmanned range of just under 25 miles and an impressive payload capacity of almost 500lbs.  It promises increased efficiency in a range of areas including crop protection, sowing seeds, and frost control.  This is a first step towards bringing this innovative technology closer to commercial application.  The cooperative companies are planning real-world tests during the next growing season.

Beyond the agricultural industry, the VoloDrone has capabilities that are equally impressive.  In logistics, the craft can transport anything from retail shipments to time-critical medical supplies without concern of heavy traffic. For infrastructure, use-cases include construction, maintenance, and site planning and can assist in daily operations.

Both John Deere and Volocopter have aggressive future plans for their new joint venture, and it will be very exciting to watch how the project impacts a multitude of industries in the future.