A fleet of highly advanced drones is assisting the world in its fight against biodiversity loss, which appears to be the latest proof that we are living in the future.
Australian start-up AirSeed Technology identifies areas in need of trees and then uses a fleet of highly advanced ‘octocopters’ to drop seed pods from the sky. They’re like environmental superheroes. Is that a plane or a bird? No, it’s a tree-planting drone.
“Each of our drones can plant over 40,000 seed pods per day, and they fly autonomously,” says Andrew Walker, CEO and co-founder of AirSeed Technologies.
“In comparison to traditional methodologies, that’s 25 times faster, but also 80 percent cheaper.”
Before taking off, each drone hopper is stocked with carefully selected seed pods compatible with the habitat on the ground. The seeds are protected from birds, insects, and rodents by a carbon-rich covering on these pods generated from waste biomass.
“The niche really lies in our biotech, which is the support system for the seed once it’s on the ground,” says Walker.
“It protects the seed from different types of wildlife, but also supports the seed once it germinates and really helps deliver all of those nutrients and mineral sources that it needs, along with some probiotics to really boost early-stage growth.”
Once in the air, the drones follow specified travel routes, planting seeds in predefined patterns and recording the locations of each seed. This enables AirSeed to monitor the health of its trees as they grow.
“We’re being very mindful of the fact that we need to restore soil health, we need to restore microbial communities within the soil, and we need to restore primary habitat providers for animals,” continues Walker, who believes the sky’s the limit for the drone-based technology.
According to the company’s website, 1.3 million square kilometres of trees have been deforested since 1990, with an estimated 15 billion trees destroyed each year globally. The company has already planted over 50,000 trees and intends to plant a total of 100 million by 2024.
“The world has 10 years remaining to prevent a massive and destabilizing climate change through combined rapid phase-out of fossil fuels, reforestation and other natural climate solutions,” said the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
AirSeed is striving to avoid such a disaster with its goal of increasing global forest cover by 0.9 billion hectares without impacting agriculture.