Tech | August 19, 2017 5:00 am

Tree-Planting Drones Will Grow a Forest From the Sky

The flying robots are 10 times faster than planting by hand.

Tree-Planting Drones
The drones, from the startup BioCarbon Engineering, can plant as many as 100,000 trees in a single day. (BioCarbon Engineering)

Drone projectiles are usually deadly, but this kind is decidedly more Earth-friendly.

A drone designed to plant trees from the sky is helping a non-profit organization grow forests around the world. The quadcopters fire tree-sprouting bullets from 300 feet above in a process that 10 times as fast and half as expensive if done by hand, Fast Company reports.

Developed by startup BioCarbon Engineering, the tree-planting process works in three phases. First, a drone will map out the area and collecting data on obstructions, biodiversity, and topgraphy. Then, the startup’s program will develop a flight pattern that’s optimized for tree growth, according to the magazine.

Finally, the drone will fly the pattern that was mapped out and fire seed-filled biodegradable pods into the soil below. Loaded with 300 “seedpods,” the drone can cover almost two and a half acres in less than 20 minutes. With BioCarbon’s current system, its possible for six drones to be flown at once. Fast Company reports they have a collective output of 100,000 trees planted in a single day.

In September, BioCarbon will deployed the drones in the skies above Myanmar and work with Worldview International Foundation to plant and regrow mangrove forests along the Irrawaddy River.