By: Tia Ghose, LiveScience Staff Writer
SAN MATEO, Calif. — The word “drone” tends to conjure up images of planes that kill terrorists or of creepy surveillance tools.
But tiny drone airplanes made of foam may be more useful in rural environments, one researcher says. There, the fliers could revolutionize agriculture, reducing the need for pesticides and improving crop production.
Because drones can fly cheaply at a low altitude, they can get highly detailed images of cropland, said Chris Anderson, the CEO of 3D Robotics and former editor-in-chief of Wired, here on Saturday (May 18) at this year’s Maker Faire Bay Area, a two-day celebration of DIY science, technology and engineering. Drone-captured close-ups of fields could help farmers tailor their pesticide treatment and identify subtle differences in soil productivity.