Idaho company hopes for agricultural drone approval

vineyard drone
Students fly a research drone over Bitner Vineyards in Caldwell, Idaho

You can buy drones, but you can’t fly them – not legally, not yet.

Brad Ward made that point this week at a University of Idaho forum on geographic information systems. Ward is co-owner of Advanced Aviation Solutions LLC, or Adavso, a Star company seeking to become an authorized user of commercial drones in agriculture…

Ward introduced several drones – varying in size from less than 2 pounds to 8 tons – describing their costs, availability, capabilities and uses in agriculture. He then told his listeners about the spider web of legalities surrounding their use.

Although all could be called unmanned aircraft systems or drones, the names can describe some very different aircraft, he said.

“One is 16,000 pounds, flies over 50,000 feet for 32 hours and is very large, bigger than a 737,” Ward said. “The other is one and a half pounds, you literally shake it three times and the motor starts, and you’re ready to go.”

It’s unfortunate that the poor reputation of the military drone has been applied to the tiny crafts with various commercial uses, Ward said. “And that’s where the FAA came in,” he said.

Most unmanned aircraft cannot be used as intended at this point, except by hobbyists and for research and emergency response by not-for-profit educational and governmental organizations, Edgar said.

Though not linked solely to the American Persona, our character as a nation is thoroughly distorted by both libertarian and religious threads in our history that seem always to link the uses of a device to the device itself. Though, the literate in our society have at least learned to use the term “Luddite” appropriately.

Those so accused usually try to disabuse themselves by countering with a straw man argument like, “I’m not against all technology – just this one!” Completely missing the point of a Luddite definition – which says the technology is to blame for something people do with it. Genetically-modified botanicals or animals being the strongest example in current trends.

RTFA for the hopes and desires of someone simply trying to make a buck from aiding agriculturists in their business. Flying drones over crops to record data which will aid production and quality.

Our government in turn will regulate any use to death rather than try to understand what can be safely accomplished and how. We’re back to laws which required those newfangled automobiles to be preceded along the road by a man carrying a warning lantern.

Thanks, Mike

2 thoughts on “Idaho company hopes for agricultural drone approval

  1. McLeod says:

    Cars burn on Interstate 15 fire; drone interferes with firefighting effort http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-fire-in-cajon-pass-20150717-story.html U.S. Forest Service officials said the fire destroyed 20 cars and damaged 10 when it jumped the freeway about 3:45 p.m. A drone flying near the San Bernardino blaze forced crews to abandon air drops, which would mark the third time in a matter of weeks that firefighters have been grounded because of the devices.

  2. Hope says:

    Hatem and Mohammed are obsessed with drones and robots.
    Determined to stop the desert from swallowing up their country, the two Sudanese inventors decide to take part in a television competition for inventors to raise awareness and investment in their dream – Sudan’s first and only agricultural drone company.
    Although isolated by international sanctions and frustrated by a failing economy, the pair succeed in building Sudan’s first flying robot farmer.
    Their drone can plant trees, increase harvests and reduce crop damage. And they are bound by their shared belief that Africa can change its destiny with technology. https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/witness/2018/01/seeds-inspiration-sudan-flying-robot-farmer-180123090520285.html
    See also: “What’s happening in Sudan?” (BBC Africa Jan 20, 2019) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQ_evqqVU5E Also “South Sudan: Acute Food Insecurity and Malnutrition Situation January 2019 and Projections for February – April 2019 and May – July 2019” https://reliefweb.int/report/south-sudan/south-sudan-acute-food-insecurity-and-malnutrition-situation-january-2019-and “Overall Red alert Drought for Eastern Africa-2019 in Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda” http://www.gdacs.org/Droughts/report.aspx?eventtype=DR&eventid=1013021&episodeid=2

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