Drones begin descent on US agriculture

No one is laughing now. Once considered only a cut above remote-controlled toys, drones have proven their potency in Afghanistan and the Middle East, and manufacturers are eyeing U.S. agriculture as a tremendous market opportunity. Chris Mailey, vice president of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), said, “Agriculture is gonna be the big […]
No one is laughing now. Once considered only a cut above remote-controlled toys, drones have proven their potency in Afghanistan and the Middle East, and manufacturers are eyeing U.S. agriculture as a tremendous market opportunity. Chris Mailey, vice president of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), said, “Agriculture is gonna be the big market.” Wired reports that Japan used drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), to spray 30 percent of its rice fields in 2010. UAV technology is rapidly evolving and drones are already seeing limited use in the wine industry. The Federal Aviation Administration, after getting swamped with thousands of drone applications from universities (with a heavy agricultural focus), law enforcement and private citizens, has a 2015 “deadline” to open up U.S. skies to civilian drones. The drone makers have sought congressional help to speed their entry into a domestic market that is worth billions. Some put the drone market value at $5.9 billion and growing and is expected to double in the next decade.  Drones can cost millions of dollars for the most sophisticated varieties to as little as $300 for one that can be piloted from an iPhone. Regardless of how good the drone technology is, the  profit potential for agriculture will depend on drone costs. Mailey believes farming and drones will be a fit. What is your opinion? Please comment below. Read more here. Interested in learning more about Unmanned Aircraft Systems, register to attend ATI’s Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals courses which will be presented on July 23-25, 2013 in Columbia, MD.
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