Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 2016

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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42 unmanned systems inside   August/September ugust/Septe   August/September   August/September be   August/September 2016 0 2016 6 2016 AIR NEW APPLICATIONS second. That's a little faster than a paintball gun and slower than a rubber bullet. Because the machine can plant seeds so pre- cisely, obstacles like rocks and downed trees aren't an issue. "That's the exact reason why Droneseed is so important," Kozak said. "People have to get through the terrain; most of the time it is land that is covered in all kinds of stuff. That's a huge reason to send in drones." The service drone has multiple attachments, "like a tractor," the company said; once seeding is done users can attach a spray module and the vehicle f lies back to the area to treat the seedlings with natural pest deterrents. DroneSeed currently has four paid pilot projects, helping replant land in the U.S. and Canada after forest fires, and working with a water utility to plant shade trees to naturally cool water before it enters their treatment plant. The reforestation project has saved Clean Water Services from having to build a $65 million cooling plant, Kozak said. Fighting Fire, Insects Pilot projects notwithstanding, DroneSeed may have a lot of work to do before making inroads with established forestry agencies. Wisconsin's DNR has "not had any discussions, nor used any of that" technology, according to Warren, who added that manual methods of reseeding have worked fine in the past. "I'm sure it's something that at some point we'll explore and see if there's some applicability, but at least on state lands we just cover it with planting crews." Fred Turck, Virginia DNR manager of re- source protection, said a UAS might be use- ful in the future as a scout vehicle to see what areas might need an application of herbicide or to monitor logging jobs. In the future, if line-of-sight requirements are lifted, Virginia might also use a drone to monitor a wildfire. And in Michigan, forest service officials have discussed using drones to monitor the spread of invasive pests like the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, which kills trees from the top down. "Most of the time you're either way high in an airplane, or you're on the ground looking up," Michigan DNR manager of forest planning operations David Price said. An unmanned vehicle would let inspectors get closer to the treetops, where eyes are needed most. But DroneSeed is optimistic that people will realize the potential of tree planting by drone. And at least some industry observers agree: the startup was accepted to the prestigious in- cubator TechStars Seattle in 2016. Photos courtesy of DroneSeed DroneSeed CEO Grant Cary holds one of the firm's unmanned aircraft (top). DroneSeed rotorcraft use an air gun to precisely place seed pellets.

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