The Northern California campfire was the deadliest in the United States in the last century, and although we can never replace lost lives, we have the opportunity to restore the forests devastated by the fire. .
Unfortunately, planting trees is not as easy as Johnny Appleseed seemed – it's a dirty and dangerous job that requires a high level of intelligence.
That's why a Seattle-based startup has developed a high-tech solution to the problem of planting seeds in areas devastated by forest fires, combining drones, artificial intelligence and bioengineering.
Let a drone do it
Every year, forest fires in the United States burn an average of 7 million acres, and our current method of replacing lost trees is not ideal. "Even in the most sophisticated companies in the world, planters are superheroes who use bags and shovels to plant trees," said Grant Canary's entrepreneur TechCrunch.
That's why he founded DroneSeed in 2015. The company has developed drones that can both decide where to plant seeds and actually plant them – two tasks previously performed by humans.
The drone uses lidar to create a 3D map of an area and a multispectral camera to gather information about its soil and vegetation. From these data, an AI model determines the ideal place to plant a new tree.
Drones do not just throw seeds on the ground, however – DroneSeed has developed special "seed vessels". These are small plates containing nutrients with a seed in the center and a sprinkling of capsaicin on the outside to dissuade the animals from eating them.
DroneSeed is the first company to receive a multi-vessel unmanned aerial vehicle license over 55 kilograms from the Federal Aviation Administration. This means that his drones can run in swarms of up to five boats to cover larger areas.