The Potential for Drones
We've recently read that the FAA is allowing Amazon to test fly packge delivering drones which means the potential for using the technology for farming operations may ease even more. Recently the FAA discussed allowing drones to fly over orchards and fields. Tom McKinnon, founder and chief technology officer with Agribotix is a drone-enabled software company that provides advanced imaging and analysis for precision agriculture.
McKINNON: We were fearful that they would have been quite a bit more Draconian so that's the upside. The downside is they're proposed federal rules and they've got to go through the process and it probably won't be for 18 months that they take effect. Right now what you can do to operate is to get an exemption, a Section 333.
With the use of drones farmers can easily get a snapshot of their crops.
Initially the FAA was looking at having fairly complex licensing for drones but that appears to be relaxing a lot and McKinnon says that really anyone can operate their drone.
McKINNON: They're fully autonomous flight. We create the mission on the ground station and it does the rest in terms of creating the mission by itself. Hit another button and it uploads that to the plane by telemetry radio and the things taking off and it's flying it's mission, comes back and lands and all the pictures are on the SD card in the camera.
With the use of drones farmers can easily get a snapshot of their orchards and collect a large amount of data. That data can then be interpreted as necessary. For more information, contact Agribotix.com.
That's today's Fruit Grower Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.