Drones may becoming more widely used for reasons of providing entertaining Facebook videos, but the real world of unmanned aerial vehicles is about to change with the news that Yamaha has recently received permission in the United States to fly the RMax. This is a helicopter-type drone designed to spray crops.
The European agricultural market is the next focus for Yamaha, as the company aims to boost drone manufacturing output from 320 this year to 500 by 2020.
Yamaha has been developing this helicopter drone for over 30 years. There are over 2,600 of them working, mainly in Japan, and now also in South Korea and Australia.
Over 2.4 million acres of Japanese crops are reported to be treated annually by the Yamaha RMax. It has proved ideal for spraying in difficult areas and a further help in reducing soil compaction.
The RMax costs about €70,000, weighs 64kg and can carry a load of 28kg, either as 16 litres of spray or 26 litres of fertilizer. Its 246cc two-cylinder petrol engine runs on a two-stroke oil mix. With over 3 metres in wingspan width, it is normally moved from farm to farm behind a 4x4 and trailer.