Spotlight on agricultural drones
The use of drones in agriculture is now an established practice. Mainly used for the collection of data that are then processed, analysed and combined to perform tasks typical of precision agriculture, aerial drones are now also increasingly used in the performance of certain important crop operations. These include pesticide treatments, biological and integrated pest control, and pollination interventions.
This was the theme of the seminar entitled 'Present and future of vineyard treatments by aerial drone', held at EIMA International as part of the initiatives promoted by EIMA Campus. Aerial drones - it was said during the meeting - can be used both on herbaceous crops and arboreal crops (vineyards). In both cases, the use of this particular type of technology has many strengths, although variables relating to the orography of the land, 'off target' losses and possible difficulties in planning flight routes must be taken into account. However, drones offer the great advantage of performing 'spot' treatments, i.e. on the individual plant, and of working successfully even in complex environmental settings (such as terracing and steep slopes) that make it almost impossible to use traditional machines such as tractors and sprayers. In addition, the use of drones for pesticide operations has important implications in terms of safety, as it prevents the operator from being close to the chemical substances contained in pesticides. Also in the context of EIMA, agricultural drones were discussed at the conference entitled 'The evolution of the use of drones in agriculture for aerial spraying: the Marche project'.
During this meeting, in addition to presenting the specific experience gained in the Marche region, the speakers emphasised the need for regulatory interventions that clearly and precisely regulate what is to all intents and purposes an emerging field of activity.