When you think about drones, images of military aircraft and police surveillance might come to mind. But of course, a drone can be used for so much more, which is exactly what this Oregon startup is working to do.
DroneSeed is working on a tree planting operation that utilizes what they call “precision forestry,” a high technology way to reforest areas that have been heavily logged.
By using drones instead of human labor, the cost of reforestation is a tenth of what it would otherwise be. Through the advancements of sensor technology, global positioning, and drones themselves, DroneSeed is bringing forestry into the 21st century.
“Forestry is 100 years behind in its adoption of automation- trees are harvested by massive machines, but replanted by hand and shovel. Our drones can go where machinery can’t, and plant magnitudes faster and more cheaply than humans. DroneSeed’s success means truly scalable reforestation.” – DroneSeed
In the U.S., tree planting laborers plant 1.5 billion trees each year. Even so, finding people to do the actual work is difficult, not because it’s not a good paying job, but because it’s so difficult.
“You have people who will turn down the jobs for lower paying easier work elsewhere,” says DroneSeed’s CEO Grant Canary. “Not because they’re lazy, but because it’s so draining. It’s one of the hardest jobs on the planet.”
DroneSeed believes that once its technology is fully developed, their drones could plant up to 800 trees per hour, compared to perhaps 800 trees per day for a tree planting human.
This is a major technological development, on par with the invention of the tractor for farming. DroneSeed is currently running live tests to show the efficiency of drone-based tree planting systems.