UK based BioCarbon Engineering intends to use drone technology to combat deforestation.
With current rates of deforestation reaching 26 billion trees per year due to various industries, finding a cost and time-efficient way to plant trees worldwide would be immensely valuable. BioCarbon's CEO and former NASA engineer, Lauren Fletcher, believes they have found a way - using drones.
The BioCarbon drone would begin with aerial surveillance, generating 3D maps of forested areas in order to assess the need for re-forestation. They would then return to shoot seed pods into the ground at a fast speed using pressurized air. The seeds themselves would be pregerminated, which means a higher chance of survival and growth. The drones could also monitor the area post-planting to keep track of progress.
Planting 10 seeds per minute, this would not necessarily be faster than human labor, but it would be cheaper. 2 operators could control multiple drones and plant up to 36,000 trees in a day. It is estimated that the cost would be only 15% of traditional methods. Fletcher believes that, "The only way we're going to take on these age-old problems is with techniques that weren't available to us before".
The prototype has recently received funding and BioCarbon intends to have a working product by the end of the summer. The ultimate goal is to plant 1 billion trees a year.