Pyka, a company specializing in autonomous electric aircraft for crop protection and cargo transport, and Dole, a leading global fresh fruit and vegetable producer, have successfully completed the initial trial phase of Pyka’s Pelican Spray aircraft.
Dole Fresh Fruit took delivery of the aircraft in 2022 for its operations in Honduras. Collaborative efforts between the teams of both companies were then initiated to test the aircraft's flight operations and spraying efficacy at Dole’s Isletas Farm. The results showed that Pyka’s autonomous electric aircraft were both easy to operate and effective in crop protection.
The subsequent phase will see the Pelican Spray aircraft being used more extensively across Dole’s banana plantations, enhancing their existing fleet of agricultural spray planes. The partnership aims to further roll out the Pelican Spray service to other operations in Latin America. This technological move is expected to enhance spray operations, achieve a reduction in chemical use due to improved spray accuracy, reduce environmental footprint, and support Dole's sustainability objectives.
Volker Fabian, Chief Commercial Officer of Pyka, commented on the collaboration, noting that Dole, with its international reputation and widespread commercial operations, will be able to showcase the potential of Pyka’s product on a grander scale.
Patricio Gutierrez Carvajal, Regional Director Innovation, R&D at Dole Tropical Products, expressed optimism about the partnership with Pyka, highlighting the alignment of Pyka's innovative approach and environmental focus with Dole’s corporate goals. He emphasized the need for a safer, more environmentally-friendly, and precise aerial spraying solution in the market.