The drone, developed by AirSeed Technology, uses artificial intelligence to spray seeds from the air. Deforestation is one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time, affecting the Earth’s ecosystem in many ways. The loss of habitat for various animal and plant species threatens the survival of tens of thousands of species, while the disappearance of trees that sequester carbon dioxide also has a negative impact on halting climate change. According to UN statistics, there are currently about 40 million square kilometres of forest on Earth, and although the rate of deforestation has consolidated somewhat in recent years, the amount of land covered by trees is still decreasing by about 70,000 square kilometres per year.
Recently, a number of tree planting campaigns have been launched, often by large companies in addition to individual and civil initiatives, in order to meet increasingly stringent commitments to net carbon emissions. Another solution to help reforest fallow land is the Australian company Airseed Technology, which has developed a drone called Artmeis that can disperse tree seeds fully automatically.
“Each of our drones can plant 40,000 seed pods a day and they fly fully automatically,” said Andrew Walker, the company’s founding CEO, who says it can make planting 25 times faster and 80 percent cheaper. One of the keys to the solution is the “seed tray”, which Walker also refers to as a biomass sleeve that not only provides the seed with the nutrients it needs to grow, but also protects it from birds, rodents and insects.
Before take-off, the drones are individually loaded with seeds of the right variety for the soil, and the devices then automatically disperse the seeds to the right place along a pre-programmed route. The drones also record the exact coordinates of the seeds, so AirSeed can continuously monitor the trees’ progress. According to Euronews Green, the company has planted 50,000 trees so far, with the ultimate goal of planting 100 million trees by 2024.