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Drones in Agriculture

Interesting article about drone research being done at WSU.

The article mentions a couple of things drones can do for farmers much more cheaply than existing methods.
Blow the rain off of cherries – instead of using helicopters. (Who knew there even was such a thing as cherry blower?)
Chase birds.
Monitor disease over acres and acres of wheat or corn.
Spray chemicals in precise locations—not over the whole field.

I can think of a couple of things not mentioned in the article as well. e.g. picking fruit from far flung places in an orchard or vineyard to test for ripeness. Zapping bugs with frickin’ laser beams attached to the drones. That would probably be a big hit with the organic crowd. I’m sure the farmers here can think of plenty of other uses.

Seems like this is one of the first areas that the FAA should approve drone usage. They’ll be flying low—dozens of feet off the ground so there is no conflict with existing traffic. They are in unpopulated areas so the risk to people on the ground is low. There shouldn’t be any noise complaints since they are quieter than existing practices. And best of all, there are no vested interests to lobby against their use.

Compared to Amazons package delivery proposal this seems like something that might actually happen in the next couple of years.

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