Mangaluru, June 06, 2016: Former minister and Chairman of Vikas Education Trust Krishna J Palemar and his team aims to plant 1 lakh saplings, especially rare ones in Western Ghats to ensure that flora and fauna remain undisturbed. He has decided to use drones to drop seeds to increase green cover in Western Ghats; inspired by the BioCarbon Engineering, a UK-based startup, in this regard.
The tree-planting drive, which will be carried out over the next three months, was flagged off on June 4, Saturday at Vikas College campus. The custom-made drones were built by startup Dreamers Pvt Ltd at Sahyadri College Incubation Centre.
Speaking on the occasion, MLA C T Ravi said, "Human beings cannot live destroying the nature. The environment issues need to be addressed with urgency."
About the project, Palemar said the team will first conduct a 3D aerial survey of forest land. Drones will be flown over potential planting zone taking photographs of the area to create a 3D map. Based on the map, a plan will be chalked out to plant saplings.
The number of drones will vary depending up on the size of the seeding. Once all that terrain data is analysed, then a seeding pattern, which suits the terrain best, will be generated. Drones are then loaded with seed pods. Drones, which are equipped with guidance and control software, will carry pressurized canisters of seed pods with germinated seeds immersed in a nutrient-rich gel.
Using hover-and-plant method, drones will follow the planting patterns, firing the biodegradable seed pods down to the ground. The pods break open upon impact, allowing the germinated seed to take root, he added. He said planting about 10 pods per minute will equate to around 36,000 trees per day for each team. The next set of drones to be designed will have solar-powered batteries and a capacity to fire plant more seed pods.