Aussie Start-Up Creates Seed-Firing Drones To Fight Deforestation

Jul 15, 2022by Olivia - F&F

Aussie start-up, AirSeed Technologies, is supporting large-scale reforestation through drone technology and artificial intelligence. Let’s take a look at why their seed-firing drones are faster, cheaper, and more effective than manual tree-planting.

These Seed-Firing Drones Can Plant 40,000 Seed Pods Per Day!

Autonomous, seed-firing drones — sounds cool, right? Aussie start-up, AirSeed Technologies, is behind the technology that has made it possible to plant up to 40,000 seed pods per day! AirSeed’s highly-advanced fleet of seed-firing drones are working to combat climate change through scalable reforestation and revegetation.

The coolest part is that the AI-powered drones can drop two seed pods per second whilst recording the exact location! This helps AirSeed in their post-planting and monitoring phase, which occurs within 1-6 months of planting the seeds.

Before zooming out into the Australian wilderness, each drone is loaded with seed pods that are suitable for the habitat below. E.g. bushfire areas, which are often inaccessible. 

Airseed Technologies Seed Firing DroneAirseed Technologies Seed Firing Drone

Image: AirSeed Technologies

Conventional Tree-Planting Can Be Slow & Labour-Intensive

At some point, I’m sure we’ve all taken part in a community tree-planting initiative! Whilst these tree-planting programs are incredibly rewarding, the reality is that manual planting techniques are relatively slow, labour-intensive, and expensive. When we’re facing unprecedented rates of deforestation and biodiversity loss around the world, we need to implement fast, affordable and large-scale solutions.

"Each of our drones can plant over 40,000 seed pods per day and they fly autonomously. In comparison to traditional methodologies, that's 25x faster, but also 80% cheaper,” said CEO and co-founder of AirSeed Technologies, Andrew Walker

Already, these drones have planted more than 50,000 trees — with aims to plant 100 million trees by 2024! 

Growing Seed Plant In SoilGrowing Seed Plant In Soil

Image: AirSeed Technologies

What Are The Seed Pods & How Do They Work?

So, how does it all work? We have this preconceived notion that seedlings must be gently planted in soil to ensure their survival, but AirSeed Technologies’ seed pods work differently! Their biotechnology works to rehabilitate soil, increase soil carbon, and provide the right area with the right species. 

"The niche really lies in our biotech, which is the support system for the seed once it's on the ground," said Walker. Each seed pod is enclosed in waste biomass; a carbon-rich coating that crumbles down into nutrient-rich soil. 

“It protects the seed from different types of wildlife, but also supports the seed once it germinates and really helps deliver all of those nutrients and mineral sources that it needs, along with some probiotics to really boost early-stage growth,” said Walker.

Logging Deforestation ForestLogging Deforestation Forest

Image: AirSeed Technologies

The Planet Loses A Portugal-Sized Area Of Forest Every Year

It’s estimated that every year, 15 billion trees are destroyed due to agricultural expansion, commodity-based manufacturing, logging, urbanisation, and bushfires. This equates to 70,000km², which is roughly the size of Portugal. In Australia, bushfires have claimed more than 40 million ha of our land. 

AirSeed Technologies believe that rapid reforesting is required after these extreme events to restore habitats for our wildlife, improve air quality, soil stability, sequester excess carbon, and prevent toxins from entering into our waterways and oceans. 

But, it’s not just about planting trees to reach a certain number! "We're very mindful of the fact we need to restore soil health, microbial communities within the soil, and restore primary habitat providers for animals,” said Walker.

The United Nations Environment Programme is calling for an end to deforestation by 2030. To replace the large swathes of empty land with vegetation and boost biodiversity, we’re going to need solutions that are fast, affordable, and effective.

We truly think AirSeed Technologies’ seed-firing drones tick all these boxes, and more! Their ultimate goal is to facilitate complete ecosystem restoration projects in the harsh Aussie bushland, and beyond.

For more examples of innovative, sustainable technologies — check out our Eco News category and the blogs below!

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