Farmers using drone-lasers to ‘map and zap’ weeds

Scientists will explore using drone-mounted lasers to blast weeds causing a billion-dollar headache for farmers in a new “map-and-zap” project.

With recent research putting the annual cost of weeds to productive land at $1.6 billion or higher, the agriculture sector urgently needed environmentally-friendly tools to get them under control.

Now, a new AgResearch-led, million-dollar programme may find the answer in drones.

“The idea is to mount specialist cameras on the drone or UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) that can first identify the weeds based on their unique chemical signatures and how they reflect light, and precisely map their locations using GPS,”

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