Following our overview on potential civil markets for UAVs, here is an interesting one: “Precision Agriculture”! Current UAV technologies now allow farmers to enhance their productivity and make a better use of their land, through two main capabilities: remote sensing and precision application.
A variety of remote sensors are available to scan plants for health problems, record growth rates or hydration, and locate disease outbreaks. Such sensors can be attached to ground vehicles, aerial vehicles and even satellites. Precision application is especially useful for crop farmers and horticulturists, as it ensures efficient utilization of spray techniques cover plants and fields more selectively. Farmers can provide only the needed pesticide or nutrient to each plant, reducing the total amount sprayed, and thus saving money, time and reducing environmental impacts.
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle International (AUVSI) recently assessed in a report on The Economic Impact of Unmanned Aircraft systems integration in the United States, that Precision agriculture is going to be one of the two main markets for the civil UAV industry. According to this forecasts, UAV on US agriculture segment for 2015 will generate a total economic impact in all 50 states of nearly $2.1 billion with total job creation of 21 565. As AUVSI vice-president Chris Mailey told Wired.com: “Agriculture is going to be the big market”.