Poladrone launches world’s first precision spot spraying drone, Oryctes

Oryctes, the world’s first precision spot spraying drone designed for oil palm was launched today at a MyDroneX Exclusive event held at Futurise, Cyberjaya.

The 16L drone, which applies spray fluid with centimetre-level precision at the centre of oil palms, was designed and developed by a Malaysian team over a 12-month period, and is the latest development in agrotechnology that capitalises on advancements in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology.

According to Cheong Jin Xi, founder and CEO of Poladrone, the innovation behind Oryctes lies in artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms which enable the drone to identify and precisely target the centres of palms through an automated process. First, an aerial mapping drone surveys the land and captures high resolution images; then, Airamap, an AI software analyses the image data to identify palms, and prepares the flight routes; finally, the information is transmitted to Oryctes for it to carry out automatic spraying along the

Oryctes is engineered to potentially eradicate this agriculture pest which has long been known to inflict extensive damage on young oil palm crops. It applies pesticide directly onto oil palm crowns to protect growing shoots, which are particularly vulnerable to beetle attacks, thus reducing or eliminating the need for manual spraying which exposes workers to strong chemicals for prolonged periods of time.planned flight paths.

“Drones in Malaysia are often seen as toys for the hobbyist, but their commercial use has skyrocketed in recent years. With the advancements in UAV hardware and software, drones have become easier to operate and much more reliable. When developing Oryctes, we intentionally designed it as an entry point to farming automation for local farmers and planters.”

Developed with support from Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia via the Global Technology Fund, Oryctes covers up to 2-3 hectares every hour, and comes with a customisable spray system to suit a variety of crops: “spot” mode, ideal for oil palm; and “mist” mode, which is better suited for field crops such as paddy.

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