DroneSeed, a Seattle-based startup, has a plan to revolutionize reforestation efforts worldwide by using specially equipped drones to plant trees and monitor their growth.
Deploying essentially a “high-powered paintball gun,” the drones shoot seed capsules into the ground. Drones can easily reach remote areas and realize significant supply-chain efficiencies for timber companies.
Resource extractors and other forest managers pay DroneSeed by the acre as a service. Software currently being beta-tested allows one operator to pilot up to 15 drones at a time.
The company says a skilled human tree planter can plant up to 800 trees a day, or about two acres. One person commanding 15 drones could do the equivalent of 360 manual labor hours in a day.
"[It’s a] game changer in terms of the economics of reforestation,” said Grant Canary, CEO of DroneSeed.
DroneSeed has raised over $5 million in venture capital to back its efforts.