Flying drones could add a new application to their already wide field of action: the fight against deforestation.
Lauren Fletcher, a former NASA engineer, recently launched the BioCarbon Engineering initiative, which has a solid ambition: to replant more than a billion trees each year using flying drones.
The company is based on disturbing study results: each year, around 26 billion trees are cut down while only 15 billion are replanted. In addition, creating artificial forests is tedious and costly work, but things could change quickly.
It is thus planned to use drones to participate in reforestation. The flying drones would be equipped with a kind of rifle with seeds, hulls in the shape of warheads being propelled towards the ground to sink there. There, pre-germinated seeds stored in nutritious hydrogel would only have to start their growth, the shell being biodegradable.
Thanks to the study of satellite maps, it would be possible to program drone squadrons to automate the planting of entire areas. The drones would be able to plant 36,000 trees per day at a cost equivalent to only 15% of the methods traditionally used.
A prototype drone has recently been presented, and a commercial version could be offered by the end of this summer.