DroneSeed Plants a New Future for Wildfire Recovery

Updated: Jul 3


Photo Credit: Wix Stock Library

Including the massive devastation wrought by the record-breaking wildfires of 2018, the environment is taking hits that are getting harder to come back from. Although wildfires are an annual occurrence in nature, there are times when mother nature needs a hand recovering from the damage. Unfortunately, the damage can be unpredictable and difficult to plan for. Fortunately, there’s innovative technology built to resolve such problems.

In an interview with TechCrunch, CEO Grant Canary revealed that the idea of planting trees with drones was just one of many ideas he’d had for a sustainability-based startup. When his other ideas didn’t pan out, he researched tree planting and found the current methods to be outdated.

That's where DroneSeed comes in. DroneSeed is a drone startup based in Seattle that was created with the intention of planting trees in land affected by wildfires. They mainly operate in the Western United States over land that spans more than 10,000 acres. When wildfires occur, the areas affected need to be replanted with native vegetation or else invasive weeds move in, throwing off the local ecosystem. This kind of work is typically done manually, but the labor is arduous, with a high turnover rate.

DroneSeed advances post-fire forestry by employing artificial intelligence to manage drone swarms. They were the “first and only company” to have a license from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate multiple UAVs over 55 pounds. Their UAVs are “significantly modified” off-the-shelf drones equipped with “multispectral camera arrays, high-end lidar, six-gallon tanks of herbicide and proprietary seed dispersal mechanisms. They map and fumigate the affected area, then identify the ideal location to deploy their seed nutrition packages. They can plant all over the country but are only allowed to spray herbicides in a few states. The company has worked with state governments and 3 of the 5 largest timber companies in the US. In the future, they aim to work with prime contractors holding government contracts as well."

Currently, they are hiring pilots, so if you're interested in doing important work that allows you to help the environment, consider filling out an application. To be a pilot for DroneSeed, you have to meet certain qualifications. Qualifications include a willingness to work in remote environments and travel regionally up to 50% - 75% of the time, you must be FAA Part 107 Certified and proficient in heavy-lift, multi-rotor UAS operations, and you must have deep UAS systems knowledge and functional expertise. If you meet those requirements, check out the others to see if you qualify.

I am a writer and an artist based in Georgia. Specializing in illustration, graphic design, and video art, I love to explore the new ways technology intersects with art. I think drones have done amazing things for photography and video art, making what would previously be costly and difficult more accessible. As a complete novice, it was only recently that I saw what independent artists could do with their drones, and I continue to be impressed by the sights that drones are able to explore and the images they can capture. Instagram: @tyesha.ferron



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