Drones have become essential for farmers and agricultural businesses, providing a bird's eye view of crops and fields. However, when purchasing a drone for agricultural purposes, it is crucial to understand the primary differences between fixed wing and multi rotor drones. Both kinds of drones offer unique advantages regarding precision farming and crop monitoring. But understanding their differences can help you decide which drone type best uses your agriculture needs: the fixed wing or multi rotor.
There are two main types of agriculture drones: fixed wing and multi rotor drones. Both types of drones have their advantages and disadvantages. Let's explore their difference from some points of view, such as function, flight range, and maneuverability in the agriculture industry.
(The difference in spare parts between fixed wing and multi rotor drones. Source: Researchgate)
Fixed wing drones are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with a rigid wing structure that persists in a fixed position throughout the flying. Fixed wing drones are great for farmers. In agriculture, they can fly around large areas to map, survey and monitor crops. They can also tell you how many plants there are and if they show signs of stress or disease.
Fixed wing drones can only fly in a straight line and quickly cover vast areas. However, they cannot hover in tight spaces. So it limits their ability to inspect crops or any data in a particular crop area. Also, it would help if you had an extra place for the drones to land.
Fixed wing drones are capable of carrying only a limited amount of payload. So the use of sensors or additional equipment for agriculture needs is restricted.
Fixed wing drones require more knowledge and experience since their flight systems and navigation software are more comprehensive. So hiring expertise rather than operating alone is a good idea when you want to use fixed wing drones for crop mapping.
Even so, fixed wing drones are very effective for inspecting large plantation areas such as oil palm plantations. They can last longer and are more stable in the air.
Multi rotor drones, better known as quadcopters or multi-copters, are a kind of UAV with multiple rotors (typically four). Agriculture usually uses them for spraying fertilizer, sowing seeds, and detecting pests and diseases.
Multi rotor drones offer a more suitable solution for spraying crops than mapping them. It is because they have a small size, making them unsuitable for large scale agriculture.
The noise associated with these drones can often be an issue. For instance, drones can cause undue stress on animals when used near livestock due to the disruptive noise their propellers create. So, operators must know their proximity to such animals when flying their drones to avoid unnecessary disturbance.
Multi rotor drones have more parts and are a bit more complicated. That can make them more vulnerable to damage if they crash or face an obstacle while flying.
Farmers can learn to operate multi rotor drones quickly compared to fixed wing drones. This drone can also carry various payload types, such as liquid pesticides or granular seeds. Hence, it is very effective for spraying and seeding.
(Avirtech X1 fixed wing and M120 multi rotor drones for surveillance and inspection.)
Ensure you know the needs and goals of using drones to maximize farming work. If you want to use it for spraying and crop maintenance, a multi rotor is the ideal type. On the other hand, a fixed wing drone is a solution for land inspection or mapping an extensive plantation area.