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Drones unite to improve farming

Bill Herz, a farmer in LaSalle, Illinois, uses hi-tech farming in the form of a drone to check on his crops. With a drone, he no longer needs to walk the nearly 1,000 acres of his corn and soybeans farm – he can fly the field for inspection.  

Drones are part of a suite of precision agriculture tools, and so far, they let farmers livestream crop growth, patrol for pathogens and improve farm efficiency. 

The next step is to recruit squadrons of the flying robots that can cooperate on tasks without the need for a human pilot.

Scientists from the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and the Rajant Corporation in the US are currently working on simultaneously flying 20 drones.

A Rajant-patented radio technology called "kinetic mesh" and "foreign function interface" software are behind this breakthrough.

The streamlined drones can single out healthy plants from sick ones, and help farmers decide where to deliver more pesticides and nutrients.

But, do these drones work in bad weather? And do they only offer cost advantages to large firms that can afford them?

Read more to find out.

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By Jo Lo
Jo Lo

About the author

Jo Lo

Jo is a digital producer at Pattern. Jo has a background in communication, and has worked as a producer and editor for organisations such as Les Mills International, Tailor, Auckland Libraries and XtraMSN/Telecom. From 2007-2009, Jo was the web editor for Taste and Metro magazines.