WOBURN, Mass., - Guardian Agriculture, a developer of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) systems for commercial-scale farming based in Woburn, Mass., announced that it has received approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate its aircraft nationwide. FAA approval, Guardian says, makes the company the provider of the first commercially authorized eVTOL to operate its systems across the country, positioning it to address the fast-growing agricultural use case.
The SC1 is powered by four props that are six feet in diameter, giving the aircraft a 15-foot by 15-foot footprint. The quad-copter design is powered by a 9.1 kWh battery. The 4 horsepower on-board pump can spray 20 gallons and can cover 40 acres in an hour with a 200-pound capacity. Combining an autonomous aircraft, a ground station supercharger, and software generating domestically stored data, the Guardian SC1 offers on-target application to fields when and where necessary.
"eVTOL powered crop protection is better for crops, better for the environment, and better for growers' bottom line," Guardian Agriculture Founder and CEO Adam Bercu said. "We designed our system to meet the needs of commercial agriculture. Solving this real-world pain point is the right first step for eVTOL adoption at large. FAA approval represents an important turning point for American leadership in this fast-growing market."
"Aerial crop protection systems have operated the same way for decades," Wilbur-Ellis Vice President of Supplier Relations Willie Negroni said. "With the recent approval from the FAA, Guardian Agriculture is uniquely positioned to change the face of farming for the better. For the first time, we now have a reliable, cost-effective, and sustainable solution in the form of the Guardian SC1. We are so confident in the technology and the Guardian team that we are not only a customer, but also an investor."
With this approval, Guardian Agriculture expects to be the first eVTOL manufacturer with systems operating at scale across the country, and the first to generate thousands of hours of commercial flight time. "This is just the start. The real-world experience we'll accumulate allows us to demonstrate our system's safety and reliability, which we can leverage across other use cases and products outside of agriculture," Guardian Agriculture COO Jeff Sparks said.
Guardian Agriculture will begin commercial operations in support of its Wilbur-Ellis customer in California in the coming months as it continues to ramp up its production capacity.