(Photo: Droneworks Studios) Over the course of the last few months, we’ve heard a lot of talk about how the new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations will change the drone industry. From Flirtey’s first ship-to-shore delivery, to aerial photography, these new regulations are slated to be a game changer in a variety of industries, with agriculture included. Agricultural use of drones is expected to hit new heights of innovation and implementation with their availability opened up to the average farmer.
While the average local farmer may not be quick to pick up on the latest trend of agricultural use of drones, new regulations could mean huge increases in productivity for commercial farmers.
New FAA Drone Regulations
In June, the FAA released rules for the use of drones weighing less than 55 pounds, which went into effect at the end of August. While working on the regulations, the FAA has previously given special permissions to more than 6,000 drones. New regulations include:
- Drone operators will no longer be required to have a pilot’s license
- Drones must be registered and operators must pass an aeronautical knowledge test
- Small drones must be flown below 400 feet and within the pilot’s line of sight
- Drones can be operated from a moving vehicle if the operator isn’t the one driving and if it’s done in a sparsely populated area
- Flights over unprotected people on the ground who aren't directly participating in the drone operation are prohibited
Agricultural Use of Drones
When it comes to the agricultural use of drones, the new FAA regulations open up a big door for farmers. The next major step when it comes to the agricultural use of drones will be allowing farmers to use them beyond the line of sight. This would increase efficiency and keep the cost of drone operations down. For the time being, the new regulations allow a broader community of farmers to have access to the technology and utilize it in their operations.
New FAA regulations remove much of the uncertainty surrounding the agricultural use of drones. From using drones to spray fertilizer to video monitoring of vast fields and crops, opportunities are booming for their use in agriculture. Expect growers to embrace this groundbreaking technology for increased efficiency and productivity.