“Drones” in agriculture (IFAD)

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The growing role of “drones” in agriculture

Posted by Robert W. Meins

For those who follow my work on the topics of remittances, migration and development a warning; for once you will hear nothing about any of these topics from me. This post does however, combine my work at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), with another fascination of mine: designing, testing and flying large remote control aircraft.

While these aircraft may seem like large toys to the uninitiated, technology has advanced to the point where autopilot systems, GPS tracking, small cameras and arrays of transmitters can allow you to fly as far as 50 kilomiters from the point of launch, all while following the flight on a screen as if you were piloting a real aircraft. The vast number of sensors and cameras carried by what are called unmanned areal vehicles (UAVs) can be used for many purposes. Most of you will be all too familiar with the military and intelligence applications of their larger brothers such as Global Hawk and Predator, but there are also a host of civilian applications for the technology.



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Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.