Drones could be used to fight fires, pests, says Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne
- THE COURIER-MAIL
- NOVEMBER 11, 2015
AGRICULTURE Minister Bill Byrne believes there is a “bright future” for drones in Queensland, saying his department is experimenting with unmanned craft to tackle feral pests and fires.
Mr Byrne said UAV technology was being investigated as a means of replacing more costly methods of performing pest control and fire-spotting.
“There’s a bright future for the use of drones right across the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, which will provide important information that will support Queensland’s primary producers,” he told State Parliament.
“These unmanned aerial vehicles are giving Queensland producers a future that is very optimistic. Demonstrable productivity dividends will be delivered. The use of new and emerging technologies, like drones and robotics, have great potential in our agricultural industries.”
Mr Byrne said the Government was encouraging the use of drones and robots and wanted to make sure the “rules associated with their rollout are easier”.
“Drone technology has the potential to boost agricultural productivity tremendously,” he said.
“Scientists can mount advanced sensors on drones as part of farm trials to collect amounts of information at very low cost.
“It means that scientists from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries are spared having to trek around fields for hours, counting the number of heads or plants to determine the temperature of a crop during the drought.
“Instead, visual or thermal images from a drone can answer that question very easily.”
The Agriculture Minister said drones were also already being used to keep on top of potentially damaging fires.
“My Department has already experimented with drones to spot forest fires, which is far more effective than satellite remotes or flying helicopters in low visibility circumstances,” Mr Byrne said.
“This drone technology could replace some outdated, obsolete fire towers.”
Mr Byrne also said drones would could be used to reduce Queensland’s feral pest population.
Forward thinking by government departments like this is a great step forward. The diverse applications ‘drones’ can be used for is paving the way for a bright future up high.