An Idaho State University assistant professor—with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture—is about to launch a project that would use drones in Southeast and Northern Idaho. Other partners include the J.R. Simplot Company, Advanced Aviation Solutions and some Idaho farmers, according to the Idaho State Journal. Educators at Boise State University, the University of Idaho and the Idaho National Laboratory are also assisting in the project.
Donna Delparte, an associate professor in ISU's Department of Geosciences, says a "multicopter" will collect weekly data from select Idaho potato crops to assist the growers in planning for food security, crop protection and long-term sustainability. The multicopter has been outfitted with a GPS and "multispectralcamera" sensor.
"This is an experimental project to identify different crop threats that may emerge over the growing season," Delparte told the Journal. "Ideally, we will be able to provide early detection of any problem or issue that will allow the grower to rapidly respond."