Wednesday, January 07, 2015

FAA approves drones for ag use

Until now, the only nonhobbyist drones flying over crops in the U.S. were part of sanctioned studies or were operated by growers ignoring a ban on drone use for commercial purposes. The commercial drone industry - which experts estimate could be worth billions of dollars, serving a collage of other industries - has been on hold for years as the Federal Aviation Administration has struggled to develop rules for commercial drones' safe operation. But one small Treasure Valley company - Advanced Aviation Solutions, or Adavso - received the FAA's blessing Monday for its drone services. Adavso became the 13th business in the country and the first agriculture-based company to receive exemption from current FAA rules. An unmanned aviation vehicle, or drone, can snap hundreds of photos through infrared filters as it flies over farm fields, producing images that computers analyze to identify crops affected by insects, disease and lack of water or nutrients. The drone imaging helps farmers find and treat problems without spending hours or days traversing fields to spot problems from the ground...more

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