A Rantizo drone applies fungicide on a field. CREDIT RANTIZO
By CBJ News Staff
Iowa City-based Rantizo announced this week that it is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for operation of multiple drone swarms nationwide. This waiver allows for the safe operation of three autonomous drone sprayers by a single pilot and one visual observer.
“Our vision is to Fly & Apply on large areas with autonomous drone sprayers, so swarming is a critical component,” Rantizo CEO Michael Ott stated in a press release. “Labor shortages in agriculture are a known and widely discussed topic. With our ability to now fly three drones at once, we are moving closer and closer to full autonomy of operation. That autonomy will help solve for the labor requirements needed to feed a rapidly growing world population.”
With this waiver, Rantizo is able to Fly & Apply in rural areas up to the field border and will not be limited to a specific geographic area. The company also says that its drone application productivity will increase to ~40 acres per hour, nearly tripling the current rate of 14 acres per hour. In tandem with a soon-to-be-released Mix & Fill auto-tendering station, Rantizo productivity is slotted to reach ~60 acres per hour before the end of the summer.
Mr. Ott says there are a few distinctions that make Rantizo’s swarming waiver unique and highly advantageous.
“Waivers are typically limited by geographical area. To our knowledge, we are the first drone company to receive a waiver for nationwide rural swarm spraying,” he said. “Now that Rantizo can fly drone swarms in all 48 contiguous United States it will truly empower our network of Application Service Contractors to provide cost effective and efficient drone spraying services nationwide,” he added.
Rantizo is planning to reveal its drone swarming publicly for the first time with a series of demonstrations coming up primarily across the Midwest. For more information, visit rantizo.com/events. CBJ