Crop Angel was on the point of launching a new aerial applicator for agrochemicals when they participated in the Innovation Hub in 2016. It offered the potential to extend the flight times for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), allowing them to cover a greater crop area more cost-effectively and with greater precision.
At that stage the company was waiting for Civil Aviation Authority approval. The company is still waiting…
Crop Angel CEO and farmer Chris Eglington gave us a quick update: “The UAVs we have now are leaps and bounds ahead of those from only a couple of years ago and many of the issues we highlighted then have been or are being resolved with each new model developed.
“We have been involved in a number of projects where the various models of spraying drones we sell have been used mostly for everything except for spraying – although spraying of football stadiums with disinfectant may be set to take off (sorry) later this year.
“The issue in regards to agricultural spraying is legislative restrictions. The HSE’s Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) don’t seem to have a timetable for trials let alone registering products that can be applied from a UAV.
“Also the CAA require an Operational Safety Case before anything is allowed to be dropped from a UAV and those annual licenses are very expensive if approved and are very costly to write in the first place.
“I can see that Premier football clubs wouldn’t have a problem with associated costs but currently in agriculture it’s a nonstarter.
“The sad situation is that many other countries in the world are embracing this technology and we are losing out.”