As a new type of plant protection operation method, plant protection drones have the characteristics of high operation efficiency, low cost, and high pesticide utilization compared with traditional manual application and ground mechanical application methods, and it can effectively solve the problems of high-stalk crops, paddy fields, hills and mountainous areas, such as the difficulty of manual and ground machinery operations. It is to deal with the prevention and control of large-scale sudden diseases and insects, alleviate the shortage of rural labor due to the development of urbanization, and reduce the harm of pesticides to operators and other issues. Compared with manned fixed-wing drone, plant protection drone has the advantages of maneuverability, flexibility, and does not require special take-off and landing airports. It is especially suitable for small and scattered areas and densely populated agricultural areas. In addition, the plant protection drone uses a low-altitude and low-volume spraying method. The downward pressure wind field generated by the rotor helps increase the penetration of the droplets to the crop. Compared with the manual and mechanical spraying methods, the control effect is increased by 15% to 35%. Therefore, plant protection drones has become a new and powerful means to reduce the amount of pesticides and improve the effectiveness of pesticide control.
In 2013, Japan conducted a detailed investigation on the operational efficiency and the prevention and control of existing diseases and insect pests. The result is: taking 1 hectare (100 m×100 m) operation area as an example, the operation time of the backpack sprayer is 160 minutes, the spray operation time of the riding tractor is 60 minutes, and the operation time of the agricultural drone is 10 minutes.
At present, agricultural drones are highly intelligent, with functions such as automatic route planning, one-key take-off, fully autonomous flight, RTK positioning; they also the ability to fly at the same altitude as the ground (terrain following), autonomous obstacle avoidance, night flight and other functions.