British engineering and tech firm CAL International have teamed up with Australian green tech start-up AirSeed Technologies for a ground-breaking and cost-effective climate change initiative, which will see them plant 100 million trees by 2024 using drones to help offset global deforestation.
In the time it took you to read that paragraph above, it is estimated that ten football pitches of forest have been cleared. Deforestation is sadly a fact of modern-day life, and much of it is happening without considering the future ramifications.
The WWF gave an even starker warning in its article, “In the time it takes to say ‘Deforestation’, another chunk of forest the size of a Football pitch is destroyed”. Which, if accurate, means that even our shocking estimate was way short of the mark.
Some governments and individuals are trying to offset the relentless destruction of forests. However, many experts have repeatedly said that current global efforts are far from adequate. But, there might be something from above that could narrow the gap. A new ground-breaking Anglo-Australian project by CAL International and AirSeed Technologies has produced a seed pod delivery system which should offset some of the harm humans are doing to the planet.
Far too many people take the presence of trees for granted, viewing them as inanimate senseless objects that provide a home for wildlife species and fill up the scenery. Before I go on, I would ask you to take three big breaths, fill those lungs with air and prepare to be reminded of something you’ve probably taken for granted.
If we didn’t have trees, you wouldn’t be able to take those lungfuls of air!
It’s no secret that we humans are a destructive bunch and the reasons why boils down to two things: there are too many of us, and when someone can make money, little else matters. Eleven of the world’s most ecologically important forest landscapes will make up around eighty per cent of the global forest loss by 2030 unless something is done to stop it.
Between 3.5 billion and 7 billion trees are lost each year, mainly through deforestation and some natural disasters. However, this number pales into insignificance when we consider that since humans have evolved, there is estimated to be less than half the number of trees left on the planet since the time we first strode forth.
Could drone technology be the obvious answer?
Over recent years, drones haven’t had the best of the press, and aside from defence uses, most people view them as just something to take pictures and produce a film from the air. However, perceptions will change, particularly when drone technology can be shown to help the planet in a physical way.
The AirSeed and CAL International Partnership
AirSeed is an Australian start-up company specialising in combatting climate change using drone technology. One of its co-founders, Andrew Walker, reached out to CAL International’s engineer and founder Cliff Kirby (below) to help them refine the planting systems for their drone technology.
The Australian drone company already had an existing delivery system but wanted help from Cliff Kirby to refine the seed pod delivery system’s design, user interface and manufacturability. The AirSeed drone is incredibly advanced and has a payload and delivery system supported by artificial and data intelligence that can identify and locate target areas using GPS coordinates. Once it has reached its pre-programmed destination, it is capable of firing carbon pods onto the ground at a rate of two per second.
Once the carbon pods have been placed, the drone pinpoints its position using the mapping system in line with the flight trajectory, which also considers wind variables and conditions. The process allows the drone to return on a reconnaissance flight via the same route to identify and map tree growth.
An AirSeed drone with a team of two people can plant up to 40,000 pods daily. Each of the pods carries a gram of carbon which is collected from rotting and dying vegetation. The pod protects the seed in the germination cycle from combative elements such as insects, rodents and birds. The seed pod is activated when it rains, with the carbon then absorbing the water and allowing the seed to germinate. And given that it is an aerial-based platform, it will be able to operate in remote areas that are difficult to access.
Traditional manual planting solutions are slow, labour-intensive, expensive, and ineffective in mitigating today’s deforestation rate. AirSeed’s aerial platform has a huge amount going for it; in particular, it is 80% cheaper than current planting methods and twenty-five times faster than manual planting methods.
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