XAG marks 10th year in agtech with new spray drones, autopilot console, and more

On the occasion of presenting a suite of new XAG innovations to the attendees, Peng said the past decade had witnessed ever-growing influence and adoption of the company's products.

XAG (极飞科技), a startup making agricultural drone and ground vehicle, yesterday launched several new products at its annual conference in Guangzhou, capital of southern Guangdong Province.

Peng Bin, co-founder and CEO of Guangzhou-based XAG, came onstage to introduce the new releases, on the occasion of the company’s 10th anniversary after venturing into the agtech sector.

The biggest highlight of the three-day event is P150, XAG’s new-generation, large-capacity agricultural drone.

P150

The drone has a 70kg load capacity and flies at a maximum 13.8m per second.

This set a new record in the performance metrics of all agricultural drones currently available in the market, Peng said.

The device spray 30 liters of insecticide and spreads 280 kg of chemical fertilizer per minute.

This enables it to empty its 60L spray tank within two minutes, making it especially suited to operation in farmland and orchards, Peng told an audience of reportedly over 1,000 people.

Efficiency in spreading fertilizer has also improved, thanks to a 115L storage tank. It takes the drone 11 seconds to rain a sack of fertilizer on the crops.

In addition to spraying pesticide or soil seeds, P150 is also designed for applications like transportation and mapping.

P60

XAG equips P150 with a smart air-lift system, which comprises a container box and a cable winch for cargo delivery. Both support a load of 65kg, with the objects ranging from agricultural materials to tree saplings and seedling trays.

To meet farmers’ demand for tilling smaller plots of land, XAG also unveiled P60, a drone that is smaller but contains the same smart technologies, control mechanisms and battery charging solutions as P150.

P60 has a capacity of 30kg, a spray speed of 15 liters per minute and a spread speed of 190 kg per minute. It is foldable and fits easily into a backpack.

According to China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the overall rate of mechanization in crop growing has hit 72%, with tractors totaling 20 million nationwide.

Nonetheless, despite the rising rate of mechanization, rural China is wrestling with a loss of labor, compounded by an exodus of young people to the cities.

Many peasants face difficulty in hiring exprience tractor drivers as a result.

That’s where XAG’s APC2 autopilot console came in. According to the firm, powered by BeiDou satellite navigation, the console can guide tractors and other agricultural machinery to function on their own.

APC2 has an accuracy of ±2.5 cm, which is ideal for growing crops like cotton and corn that demand delicate manipulation by the tractor driver, the company said.

The console sends commands to tractors to move in straight, squiggly lines or diagonally, so as to complete a variety of tasks like plowing, digging ditches, seeding, mulching, and seedling.

Farmers can relieve their workload and bolster efficiency by using the console to replace experienced truck drivers.

Inefficient and wasteful irrigation

While drone spraying has increasingly become mainstream, irrigation still remains a big part of agricultural production that relies on human labor and experience.

Farmland owners often botch their irrigation jobs, wasting water, fertilizer and energies, sometimes even resulting in lost productivity.

To tackle this issue, XAG also introduced its FQ smart irrigation valve at the conference yesterday, with the hope of realizing targeted water and fertilizer management.

The valve is composed of a console and valve per se, which are easily detachable for daily maintenance.

Smart farming

Through XAG’s mobile app, the users can adjust the opening of the valve and monitor the data remotely, so as to obtain better results.

The valve is IP67 dust- and water-proof. Powered by a 21700 lithium-ion battery, it lasts a growing season on a single charge.

On the occasion of presenting a suite of new XAG innovations to the attendees, Peng said the past decade had witnessed ever-growing influence and adoption of the company’s products.

He added XAG, which was founded in 2007, is now present in 57 countries and regions as a smart farming solution provider to help agricultural workers cope with challenges such as a shortage of labor, an aging work force, rising costs and climate change.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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