Guardian drone first to begin large scale on-farm operations

Guardian Agriculture applies its SC1 drone to become the first eVTOL authorised to operate on farms in US airspace

Guardian Agriculture has become the leading developer of electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) systems for farm operations with a 76-litre product capacity

For many, they are looking at a drone, but the farm industry has determined these flying creatures will now be termed electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) systems. Part of an estimated global commercial agriculture segment valued at US$65 billion annually.

With FAA approval to operate commercially across the US, Guardian Agriculture has become the first eVTOL manufacturer to begin commercial operations.

With contracts in place, the company is now flying on behalf of paying Framers in the Salinas Valley region of California US, operating four of its aviation-grade eVTOL aircraft to spray crops.

It appears GA is the promoter the eVTOL market has been waiting for, as they claim to spray crops more efficiently and safely than traditional crop dusters or even ground-based equipment. With its system being fully programmable, repeatable, and simple to operate.

The Guardian SC1 eVTOL system pioneering the air spray attack can cover up to 24ha (60-acres) an hour, can carry a 76-litre payload of product, and has a combined tank fill and supercharge time of less than 1 minute. The spray boom is 4.88m (16-ft) across.

Guardian’s SC1 eVTOL is shown here spraying crops in California US across a 4.88m spray boom

This is a watershed moment for sustainable farming and a giant leap forward for eVTOL technology. It follows after Guardian received approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate its aircraft nationwide.

Guardian’s eVTOL platform already has more than US$100 million in customer orders and claims to be the only autonomous, electric, aerial crop protection system designed specifically for large-scale farming.

With all technology carefully guarded as the company designs and manufactures its system entirely within the US to avoid any risk of its technology reaching cheap manufacturing and copying operations.

It is assumed Guardian Agriculture has the funding it needs to accelerate production and expand commercial operations to farms across the US through Series A fundraising of $20 million completed in June 2023. With an expected ramp-up of large-scale manufacturing of its SC1 drone.

Guardian Agriculture Founder and CEO Adam Bercu explains further “Customers, investors, and regulators recognise that there’s no better application of electric, fully autonomous aircraft than in commercial farming.

“We have taken a practical approach to building and deploying our technology that puts us well ahead of other eVTOL developers.

“As the first and only eVTOL-maker with FAA approval to operate commercially, this funding will allow us to begin and quickly expand commercial operations – on real farms, with paying customers – sooner as we continue to strengthen our team and ramp up aircraft production,” CEO Adam Bercu concluded.

Guardian recently began operating four of its aviation-grade eVTOL drones spraying crops in the Salinas Valley region of California in the US

Guardian claims to be the first company to develop unmanned aerial application technology that’s made with aviation-grade engineering and manufacturing, to greatly enhances reliability and performance.

And the company makes a point that goes beyond the cost savings they claim for application. As aerial spraying also eliminates soil and crop damage.

Guardian eVTOL systems start where many other makers end their product carrying capacity. As a result, these models are significantly larger than most of the other systems currently being used and that allows growers to cover more ground with each pass.

Guardian also claims a further virtue as to the degree of quality build around their product itself. Including support systems, training modules and simple documentation. All value adding the company believes will impact buyer decisions.

When in the air at full flight the Guardian SC1 is able to carry 76-litres of product and is claimed to work across 24 hectares every hour with a spray boom 4.88m (16-ft) wide.

While for the practicality of several hours of operation, it is estimated including a fill time of just one minute, the overall average operation can complete 16ha an hour.

Guardian SC1 eVTOL specifications