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Agriculture quickly adopting drone technology

The agricultural robotics and drone market is expected to be worth $10bn (£7.54bn) by 2022

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Agriculture quickly adopting drone technology

Agriculture has been one of the industries quickest to adopt drone technology


18 per cent of UK agricultural businesses have utilised drone technology and they are being used to survey fields, distribute pesticides and some farms have even started to use them in place of a sheepdog.


The agricultural robotics and drone market is expected to be worth $10bn (£7.54bn) by 2022.


Since the early 1990s, Japan has been using unmanned helicopters to spray rice fields and autonomous drones have also been providing detailed aerial photographs and video. This can be of benefit to farmers for collecting data, reviewing crops as well as in agricultural land sales.


The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has recently relaxed drone use regulations surrounding UK drone usage for commercial trials, in response to requests from Amazon to trial its Prime Air delivery service.


Lower regulatory barriers for drones could see the market increase to $485m (£365.52m) in agriculture by 2026, according to an IDTechEx research report.


  • 18 per cent of UK agricultural businesses have utilised drone technology
  • Robotics and drone market to be worth $10bn (£7.54bn) by 2022
  • 300,000 tractors with autosteer or tractor guidance to be sold in 2016
  • Agricultural drone market to be worth $485m (£365.52m) by 2026
  • Robotic milking to be worth $8bn (£6.03bn) by 2026


Unmanned tractors have been delayed by regulation, high sensor costs and a lack of trust in the technology but IDTechEx expect this to change by 2022 and sales to reach $200m (£150.73m) by 2026.


The report suggested unmanned weeders and data scouts could be ‘roaming the farms’ and become a $380m (£286.39m) market by 2026.


Robotic milking parlours have already been adopted and the industry is currently worth £1.9bn (£1.43bn) but is expected to rise to $8bn (£6.03bn) by 2026.


Tim Morley, category manager at DronesDirect.co.uk, said: "We anticipate even more businesses using drones following the recent change in rules from the CAA.


"Drones are already being used around the world for deliveries of consumer products, providing humanitarian aid, and security - with support from the CAA, Britain can be at the forefront of the development for business and industry."

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