australian aviation logo

Carbonix Volanti drone debuts in Michigan

written by Adam Thorn | July 15, 2023

A drone created by Australian firm Carbonix has completed the first test flight for the company in Michigan.

The fixed-wing ‘Volanti’ device is being deployed under a landmark agricultural program to use sensors in the air to predict crop yields on the ground.

The drone, piloted by consultants ArgenTech, is working towards being flown ‘beyond visual line of sight’ (BVLoS) of the controllers, a move Carbonix says will save money.

Volanti is an electric, fixed-wing drone that can fly at speed horizontally but take off vertically, conducting aerial surveys across difficult terrain. It has a two-hour flight time and a 1kg payload limit.


Carbonix CEO Philip van der Burg said the mission marked a milestone for the company.

“Michigan is one of the largest states in the US with large areas to be covered, allowing BVLoS capabilities to be utilised to their full potential,” he said.

“Being able to participate in these real-world missions signifies the opportunities that lie ahead as drone capabilities advance and continue to revolutionise industries, redefine aerial operations, and empower businesses worldwide.

“Together, we are pioneering the future of autonomous flight, propelling innovation, and shaping a world where drones are the catalysts of progress.”

The mission is part of a larger aerial remote sensing project with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) that aims to promote improved water and nutrient management.

The data collected will be combined with satellite imagery and other data to predict crop yields, quality and pricing for commodities markets.

It significantly comes after Carbonix recently received Beyond Visual Line of Sight approval in Greater Sydney, using its drones to carry LiDAR scanners and photogrammetry camera payloads.

Australian Aviation also reported in October last year how Quickstep would manufacture components for the Volanti device.

The two companies said the deal was the foundation of a partnership that would, in future, extend to all of Carbonix’s UAVs.

The agreement means components for the Volanti are manufactured at Quickstep’s Geelong facility, which in turn allowed Carbonix to initially fulfil an order from defence technology start-up Anduril.

“With state-of-the-art facilities in New South Wales and Victoria, Carbonix is thrilled to be partnering with Quickstep and their highly trained and enthusiastic workforce, renowned for their innovative approach,” said van der Burg.

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member today!

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.