The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has granted the country’s first-ever Operational Authorization to XAG’s agricultural drones, P40 and V40, for agricultural spraying operations. This marks a significant milestone for the UK farming industry as it embraces automation and AI for the net-zero goal. The move comes after the release of the UK Government’s ambition statement and vision for commercial drones and will allow farmers to boost yields with less input.
Drones have long been seen as a promising technology for the agriculture industry, but their use in the UK has been strictly regulated by the CAA. Up until now, drones’ takeoff weight was limited to under 25kg and dropping materials from drones was prohibited. However, with the release of the government’s vision for commercial drones, the CAA has begun to consider granting Operational Authorizations to heavier spray drones, such as XAG’s P40 and V40.
These autonomous drones are able to spray and spread materials precisely to the target and have been designed to conform to operational safety standards while also helping farmers to boost yields with less input. The UK’s agricultural industry has come under increasing pressure to produce in a greener, energy-smart way, and drones offer a clear solution. Running on batteries, the electric XAG drones reduce diesel use and lower greenhouse gas emissions. They are also designed for precision, with RTK centimeter-level navigation, which helps to decrease the number of chemicals used.
The grant of Operational Authorization is a significant step forward for the UK agricultural drone market, and since cooperating with Harper Adams University in research on precision agriculture in 2018, XAG has been exploring the UK market.
Image provided by XAG