In Ukraine, flights of solar energy - Droneua started flying

October 02, 2023
В Україні розпочали польоти дрони на сонячній енергії.
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In Ukraine, DroneUA was the first to use solar-powered drones. In the world, such technologies are used by companies such as Google and Facebook. In Ukraine, Drone.UA was the first to use the technology.

Solar-powered airplanes — is a format of atmospheric satellites using renewable energy sources. In the future, drones will be able to stay in the air for an unlimited amount of time due to their design, which allows it to perform long flights precisely due to the fact that the functionality of the drone and energy-efficient flight is combined with the ability to renew the battery life right in the air.

Highly efficient solar panels are used to generate flight energy in the air. During the day, the plane is constantly charging, and at night it consumes the charge stored on itself.

In the current project, the technology is designed to scan a large number of agricultural areas. In the future, the technology can also serve to relay signals in order to deploy long-term monitoring centers at high altitudes in case of emergency.

Solar-powered drones allow you to cover not fields or individual areas – they allow you to cover entire areas

The first solar-powered aircraft, which appeared in Ukraine, flies from 6 to 8 hours, depending on weather conditions. The following equipment modifications will be improved, and the device will be able to stay in the air much longer. There are such examples in the world – some solar-powered planes already fly for 60 and 80 hours.

This is the result of an international project involving Swiss and Ukrainian companies, with funding from the International Space Agency

About application

Agriculture and food production are a vital part of the global economy. The world population is expected to grow from 7.2 billion to 10 billion by 2050. This creates a need to increase food production by increasing crop efficiency and improving farming methodologies, and reducing dependence on the widespread use of chemicals, including fertilizers and pesticides.

To improve yield efficiency, farmers need reliable and accurate monitoring tools to diagnose and optimize the use of agricultural land. This concept is known as “precision agriculture,” and it involves applying pesticides or fertilizers only to areas that need it. Common economic benefits from precision agriculture include increased productivity (30%), reduced fertilizer costs, and reduced pesticide costs.

In precision agriculture, combining the capabilities of hyperspectral scanning and analytics with the help of long-duration flight technology using solar-powered drones, as well as expertise in the mass operation of unmanned platforms, provides the opportunity to create solutions that will be used to scan huge areas of fields.

Project goal – creation of a new product based on the example of operation in Ukraine, which will combine levels of expertise, with the possibility of scaling to other countries

In addition to the agricultural sector, the resulting solutions can be used in geodesy and topography, in the work of mobile operators, in the mining industry, etc.

Description of project technologies

The Gamaya hyperspectral camera is used as a platform sensor and analytics system, as well as cloud data processing products. The hyperspectral sensor is capable of recording electromagnetic reflection activity in 80 channels in the wavelength range of 400-100 nanometers, instead of the classic 3-4 channels of multispectral cameras. This makes it possible to more accurately remotely determine the biophysical and physicochemical properties of plants and soil.

The Solar 3 platform produced by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich is used as a solar-powered drone. The drone is capable of performing completely autonomous flights lasting 6-8 hours with the prospect of increasing this figure. In one working day, the platform can potentially scan up to 20 thousand hectares, depending on the selected flight characteristics. The unmanned platform takes off in the field using a catapult, or from the hands of the UAV operator.

Drone.UA is an operating company that helps create business processes and the final product – comprehensive solution applicable in Ukraine. DroneUA's area of responsibility includes technology operation, legal support and communication with government regulators to carry out work

Received indicators:

For agricultural enterprises within the framework of the project, DroneUA specialists will collect information and provide the following indicators:

  • Weed recognition and classification
  • Monitoring biomass development and yield forecasting
  • Recognition and early detection of pests and diseases
  • Determining NPK needs
  • Definition of soil erosion
  • Identifying moisture availability problems

Why technology in Ukraine?

Ukraine – a country where a number of features in the agricultural sector are concentrated. This is — large areas of fields and their concentration. It is possible to work with one client and at the same time cover huge amounts of data. A number of Ukrainian Agro companies are actively interested in further promoting the technology.

Personnel expertise in the Ukrainian unmanned aviation industry allows us to implement the most ambitious projects, which makes Ukraine a springboard for the emergence of innovative technologies for the whole world.

Cooperation with similar level companies – the result of Ukraine’s European integration policy in the field of foreign economic activity. Evidence that Ukraine is a serious player in the global market.

Project participants:

Gamaya – coordinator and managing company of the project, a Swiss company, which is one of the most promising TOP-20 companies in the world working in the field of IT technologies for agriculture (AgTech). Gamaya applies a unique combination of technologies such as patented hyperspectral camera technology, drones and artificial intelligence. The technology allows detailed diagnosis of various crop stresses in different regions based on extensive knowledge in the field of agronomy.

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich. – Considered one of the best universities in the world in the fields of mathematics, engineering and management, founded in 1855. The Laboratory of Autonomous Systems is the developer of a number of promising technologies and projects aimed at using renewable energy sources in operation, such as Atlantik-Solar, Solar 3, etc.

DroneUA — leading integrator of unmanned technologies on the Ukrainian market. The company operates in the fields of energy and oil and gas industries, as well as in the fields of geodesy and topography. The main areas of work of Drone.UA are the development and implementation of industry solutions based on drone technology, the provision of services using UAVs, as well as the processing of data obtained using drones. Drone.UA technologies are used on more than 3.1 million hectares of cultivated areas in Ukraine.

The project is financed European Space Agency — an international organization created in 1975 for the purpose of space exploration. ESA has 22 permanent members, with Canada also participating in some projects. Mainly carries out unmanned launches of devices for studying near outer space. Among the most famous ESA devices — Hubble space telescope, Ariane family of rockets, Huygens, Rosetta, Cassini, Galileo probes and others.

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DroneUA is an international system integrator of unmanned solutions and robotics.

On the market of Ukraine and Eastern Europe, the DroneUA group of companies is the largest importer and distributor of leading drone manufacturers in the world and represents technological solutions from the brands XAG, EcoFlow, Pix4D, Parrot, Chasing, DroneDeploy, AgroCares and others.

The group of companies has its own engineering, production and service divisions, as well as an open data processing center. Technological solutions presented by DroneUA are used on more than 4 million hectares of cultivated areas of Ukraine. According to the results of the 2021 and 2022 agricultural seasons, more than 2.2 million hectares were protected with drone sprayers from DroneUA.

DroneUA is among the top three most innovative businesses in the agricultural sector of Ukraine according to FORBES and among the twenty most innovative enterprises of Ukraine.

The group of companies continues to expand the list of technological brands that it presents on the Ukrainian market, and is active in agriculture, the oil and gas industry, as well as in the fields of energy, geodesy and topography.

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