Drones in Agriculture

Drones are not new technology by any means. Now it appears their time has arrived – especially in agriculture.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – better known as drones – have been used commercially since the early 1980s. Today, however, practical applications for drones are expanding faster than ever in a variety of industries, thanks to robust investments and the relaxing of some regulations governing their use. Responding to the rapidly evolving technology, companies are creating new business and operating models for UAVs.

We came across this cool video and it really caught our eye:

We asked Bill Zhang, a student at Harvard, to translate the content of this video for us. He explained that the manufacturer seems to be marketing this drone as a revolutionary way to spray pesticides. A big part of the video is dedicated to explaining the drone’s features, such as being waterproof, containing four nozzles on the bottom, etc. It emphasized that one drone could do the work of 60 people and a bunch of capabilities like staying the same height above the crops. The company appears to be targeting the drone to farmers who have never tried drones before and are still spraying pesticides by hand. According to the manufacturer, this drone carries 10 liters of liquid fertilizers or insecticides as it sprays up to 10 hectares of land. Using a microwave radar, the drone can uniformly spray the crops in the right distance covering every bit of the entire crop.

So, what’s slowing the progress of drones in agriculture? Safety of drone operations, privacy issues, and insurance coverage are the widespread barriers to drone adoption in all industries. The biggest agricultural concern is the type and quality of the data that can be captured. To address this, the industry will push for more sophisticated sensors and cameras, as well as look to develop drones that require minimal training and are highly automated.

When will we start seeing these high-tech drones flying through Rose greenhouses? Perhaps sooner than we think.