A fledgling company in southern Alberta, Canada, is sending drone technology originally designed for the military into the sky to take pictures of sugar beets, potatoes and even cattle in an effort to help farmers better manage their crops and livestock. The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) used by Lethbridge-based Isis Geomatics can fit in a backpack when disassembled and, when launched, use cameras to tag each part of a field with an exact location. A farmer can then scan the images to determine where to apply water or fertilizer or keep track of cattle.
Agriculture is just one emerging commercial application for UAVs. Drones, such as those manufactured at Waterloo, Ont.-based Aeryon Labs, are becoming easy enough for anyone to operate; they’ve been used so far for wildlife surveys and to map shipping routes. Isis hopes to add oil- and gas-field surveying to its services. Other firms are planning to use drones as super-efficient couriers in remote areas. “People are recognizing the opportunities,” says Aeryon Labs’ vice-president of marketing, Ian McDonald.
For the complete story by Emily Senger on Macleans.ca, click here.