Drones changing the way of the agriculture industry - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Drones changing the way of the agriculture industry

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AUBURN, AL (WTVM) -

Amazon and UPS have gained national attention for potentially using drones to deliver packages, but the future of drone technology is expected to come from the front lines to the farm.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System, or ACES, is testing drones on their research farm, hoping to become a resource for farmers when this technology becomes available.

"We're just doing low altitude flight, but taking a couple pictures of our crops and allowing out farm managers to look at it. They're already making better decisions on how to manage their crop," explains Auburn University Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Dr. John Fulton.

The Federal Aviation Administration has not approved the use of drones for commercial use.

At their research farm, the ACES team is collecting data using the drone during the cropping season with flights below 200 feet.

"During the data collection we want to be very safe with them, no people around and keep and low altitude so we are not breaking any rules," says Fulton.

The video taken from drones provide a whole new perspective on viewing crops or animals in the pastures.

Fulton says the drones are able to diagnose a range of problems facing the farming community dealing with crop yields.

"As a University, what we are trying to do is learn and build basically the processing analytics, as we call it, power to diagnose issues and get information back to the farmers so when the FAA rules and you see more people using them, that they have some best management practices and some ways they can take advantage of this type of technology," explains Fulton.

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