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Agricultural drones & robots used for disinfection operation

23 March 2020

Leading UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) R&D manufacturer and smart agriculture solution provider, XAG, has deployed XPlanet drones and R80 robots to help disinfect coronavirus affected areas in China.

While global scientists are devoted to accelerating diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics of this highly contagious virus, automation technologies are also contributing at the frontline. For example, drones and robots are replacing hand sprayers to release disinfectant in public places. Infected zones, densely populated areas, epidemic prevention vehicles and waste collection points are the main targets that require site-specific disinfection to kill the virus.

Based on advanced technologies such as robotic control, automated driving and high-precision operation, XAG’s agricultural drone and robot can be easily adapted to address the urgent need for fast, accurate disinfection. Compared with manual spraying, these intelligent devices can protect operators from unnecessary exposure to virus and disinfectants. They can automatically disinfect a wider region safer, as well as targeting a specific area to embark on spot spraying and deep clean.

Instead of operating independently, the drone and robot can be used together to reap the benefits of ground air disinfection against novel coronavirus. Covering a much wider area from the air with variable flying speed, one XAG drone in a day can disinfect up to 600,000-700,000 square metres – a task that would normally require 100 workers to complete. Also, with the ability to precisely control output, it consumes one fifth less disinfectant than a traditional approach such as handheld spraying.

However, the drone has its limitations, and is unable to handle complex environment with high-rise blocks or corridors where small robots can easily fit in. XAG has launched the R80 agricultural utility vehicle for precision crop spraying, monitoring and transportation. Though originally designed as a farm robot, R80 can also be applied in various scenarios such as disinfection, using its 360° high-speed intelligent JetSprayer. With an 80 litre capacity and centimetre-level navigation system, the nimble unmanned device can traverse narrow spaces, automatically avoid obstacles and disinfect targeted areas from different angles, without dead ends.