How Drones Can ‘Re-Green’ The Planet

UK based company Dendra has announced that it plans to plant 500 billion trees by 2060, by using AI and drones. A drone can plant two trees per second, according to the company, who are aiming to ‘re-green’ the planet.

Dendra estimates that it would take just 400 teams of two drone operators, with 10 drones per team, to plant 10 billion trees each year, at a much lower cost than the traditional method of planting by hand.

Susan Graham, CEO of Dendra Systems, comments:

“The challenge that we’re tackling is a complex one and working with a team of passionate engineers, plant scientists, drone operators, we came up with this idea to use automation and digital intelligence to plant billions of trees. It represents a new ‘step-change’ in how we think about global ecosystem restoration. We need to use technology to scale up our restoration efforts, and the scale we’re talking about is tens of billions of trees every year. We’ll be able to see the ecosystems that we’ve restored from space.”

Dendra believes its technology – combined with speed and accuracy – would enable governments to restore forest 150 times faster than planting by hand, and up to 10 times cheaper.

How To Plant Seeds With Drones

Firstly, the replanting areas are identified using a combination of satellite images and drone collected data. Specialised planting drones are then flown loaded with seedpods containing a germinated seed and nutrients. Once in position, the drones use pressurised air to fire the seeds into the ground- at 120 pods per minute. The seedpods will then start to grow once activated by water.

How Will This Help The Planet

The WWF estimates we’re losing more than 75,000 square kilometres of forests a year, or 27 fields every minute – including the carbon capture potential of those trees.

Graham comments:

“There’s a saying that goes that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the second-best time is today. We have this opportunity now, and we need to act today.”

We look forward to following the progress of Dendra and the outcome of their latest project.