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Tree-Planting Drones Will Grow a Forest From the Sky

The flying robots are 10 times faster than planting by hand.

Technology By

Drone projectiles are usually deadly, but this kind is decidedly more Earth-friendly.

A drone designed to plant trees from the sky is helping a non-profit organization grow forests around the world. The quadcopters fire tree-sprouting bullets from 300 feet above in a process that 10 times as fast and half as expensive if done by hand, Fast Company reports.

Developed by startup BioCarbon Engineering, the tree-planting process works in three phases. First, a drone will map out the area and collecting data on obstructions, biodiversity, and topgraphy. Then, the startup’s program will develop a flight pattern that’s optimized for tree growth, according to the magazine.

Finally, the drone will fly the pattern that was mapped out and fire seed-filled biodegradable pods into the soil below. Loaded with 300 “seedpods,” the drone can cover almost two and a half acres in less than 20 minutes. With BioCarbon’s current system, its possible for six drones to be flown at once. Fast Company reports they have a collective output of 100,000 trees planted in a single day.

In September, BioCarbon will deployed the drones in the skies above Myanmar and work with Worldview International Foundation to plant and regrow mangrove forests along the Irrawaddy River.

Read full story at Fast Company