Yamaha makes a lot more than motorbikes, outboard engines, and watercrafts. Apparently, they make drones now as well. At CES 2018, they were showing off a new drone, the YMR-01, for pesticide application in the agricultural industry. Since the nineties, Yamaha had been using the R-Max remote helicopter to do the same but a drone should be easier to fly and therefore offer a larger market for Yamaha to cater to.

The Yamaha YMR-01 features an interesting rotor design with six arms but eight rotors. The double rotors in the middle are called“vertical coaxial” rotors. Yamaha states that the design of the drone is to create the most effective downward air currents for optimal application of pesticides. Smart.

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The Yamaha YMR-01 agricultural drone

The Yamaha YMR-01 was first announced at the Next Generation Agriculture Expo Tokyo and now was displayed at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. The YMR-01’s design features coaxial rotors and a lightweight carbon body to enable continuous spraying of one hectare per flight, delivering a spraying quality comparable to Yamaha Motor’s industrial-use unmanned helicopters. The benefit of the YMR-01 drone over the R-Max unmanned helicopters will be most notable in smaller fields where the larger helicopters are harder to fly.

In Yamaha’s press release they state:

Yamaha Motor has been engaged in the business of agrochemical spraying using unmanned helicopters for over 30 years, and Yamaha Motor products now cover more than 40% of the total rice paddy cultivation area in Japan. For small fields which are difficult to cover with unmanned helicopters, in addition to manual work, the use of drones for agrochemical spraying has been increasing in recent years.

Through combining coaxial rotor technology with the latest weight-reduction technology, the new YMR-01 delivers high spraying performance, ease of use, and reliability to meet the demanding requirements of today’s farmers. The adoption of a layout in which two of the six rotor axes (one each on the left and right) have “vertical coaxial” rotors – for a total of eight rotors – creates the ideal downward air currents, and the placement of the spraying nozzles near the coaxial axes achieves consistent agrochemical application down to the roots of the crops. In addition to supplying multi-rotor aircraft, Yamaha Motor also provides practical training services using its proprietary flight simulator.

Yamaha Motor has formed an alliance with YAMABIKO CORPORATION regarding multi-rotor aircraft, with Yamaha Motor planning to supply multi-rotor aircraft and YAMABIKO planning to supply granule spraying equipment to each other. In addition to existing Yamaha Motor distributors, the new YMR-01 will also be sold through the YAMABIKO sales network.

Main Features 1) Excellent spraying quality through optimal layout of the vertical coaxial rotors and spraying nozzles comparable to Yamaha Motor’s unmanned helicopters 2) Monocoque shell structure carbon fiber body delivering an excellent balance between lightweight and rigidity 3) Double-air-intake design for cooling of the electrical system 4) Landing gear to reduce the impact on touchdown

Photo gallery

A video of the Yamaha R-Max unmanned helicopter

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