Agriculture could be biggest user of commercial drones

The remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle has moved to the forefront of sophisticated technology in agriculture.  In one case to learn whether low-flying specialized cameras can detect soybean aphids, one of the most serious insect pests in the Upper Midwest.

The growth in the drone market is expected to take off after the Federal Aviation Administration finalizes regulations on commercial use of drones, probably late next year. Some believe that agriculture is expected to make up 80 percent of the exploding market for drones in the near term, according to the report.

“Unmanned aircraft vehicles are really going to change the way that we actually do agriculture,” said Ian MacRae, professor of entomology at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, who is one of the researchers. “This is really a very exciting time.”

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