​Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and remote image sensing cameras have considerable potential for use in pest control operations. UAVs equipped with remote sensing cameras could be flown over forests and remnant bush sites, particularly those not currently receiving any pest control, to record the unique
spectral signature of the vegetation and to detect the presence of possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) and the damage they cause. UAVs could then be deployed to precisely distribute either toxins or kill traps to these identified locations.

Predator-free 2050 is an ambitious policy announced by the New Zealand Government where several pests, including possums, are to be eradicated by the year 2050. In order to achieve this goal, pests must be identified, targeted and controlled, requiring creative and novel ideas. UAVs provide flexibility, can fly in remote and difficult terrain, and are considerably cheaper to purchase and operate
than the planes and helicopters currently used in conventional aerial pest control operations. Current challenges associated with UAVs include payload capacity, battery limitations, weather, and flying restrictions.

However, these issues are rapidly being resolved with sophisticated technological advances and improved regulations. A directed and targeted approach using UAVs is an additional and novel tool in the pest management toolbox that could significantly reduce pest control costs, cover inaccessible areas not receiving
any pest management, and will help New Zealand advance towards its predator-free aspiration by 2050.

Interpine have partnered with Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, to empower and expose their School of Forestry students to UAV / Drones and their potential.

Download the Article written by Craig Morley, James Broadley, Robin Hartley, David Herries, Duncan McMorran, Ian McLean.