Drones Soon To Hover Farmlands Of Ohio And Indiana
Ohio State University and the Ohio-Indiana Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center plan to fly a small drone to help gather data for agricultural research.
Scott Shearer is Chair of OSU’s Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering. He says compared to hiring surveyors known as crop scouts, using a drone is a much more effective way to study factors that can greatly affect crops which includes standing water, pests, and the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
“A lot of crop scouts…they’re very talented people and do great work, but unfortunately they don’t have the ability to cover the area within a field, so they end up doing some sampling. But they’re just not seeing the totality of the field that could be viewed using unmanned aerial systems.”
Shearer says drones are also more cost-effective and can work under cloud cover that obliterates satellite imagery. He says rules are still being worked out with the FAA, which in turn is getting input from Congress on how best to use drones safely.
Shearer figures that up to 70 percent of drones will eventually be used for commercial agricultural purposes.