Seed-bombing drone startup aims to plant one billion trees per year

From 2000 to 2009, planet Earth lost more than 32 million acres of tropical rainforest. This large-scale deforestation accounts for about 15 percent of total global carbon dioxide emissions annually. Thankfully, a company is looking to reverse this trend with a fleet of tree-planting drones.

Since we last reported on BioCarbon in 2015, the company has increased both the capacity and sophistication of its program. Originally, BioCarbon estimated that its tree planting drone would be able to seed up to 36,000 trees per day. Now, the company sets this per diem goal at 100,000 per day. Utilizing 60 teams, BioCarbon estimates it could plant more than one billion trees in a given year.

Every year, the planet loses about six billion trees. To compensate, replanting is often done by hand, however, this method is exceedingly inefficient and expensive. BioCarbon Engineering Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Susan Graham, believes an armada of arborist drones could increase seeding rates ten fold at just 20 percent of the cost of current hand planting methods.

drone, deforestation, trees, climate change

BioCarbon has designed a platform that first maps a specific area to pinpoint arable locations prior to planting. First, the team deploys a fixed-wing drone to create a 3D model of a potential location. While this drone is in the air, a series of onboard sensors analyze ground topography, moisture, slopes, and obstructions (rocks, streams, etc).

Once an area has been properly mapped, then it’s time to sling some seeds. This 3D map is used to optimize an overall planting pattern and also determine a heterogeneous assortment of tree species. BioCarbon CEO, Lauren Fletcher, says the company’s current drones are capable of carrying 150 seed pods while in flight, and that each of these seed payloads incorporate a biodegradable housing to further ensure germination. Recently, the team tested one of its drones in New South Wales to repurpose land once used for coal mining.

“The way we plant trees today is very similar to how we planted them hundreds of years ago,” Faruqi explained, “So there’s major room for innovation in increasing the success rate of tree planting and also in improving the maintenance and monitoring of the restored land.”

Emerging Tech

SpaceX’s main Falcon Heavy booster is lost at sea after falling off drone ship

SpaceX has lost the center core of its Falcon Heavy rocket after a successful mission last week that ended with it landing on a drone ship. SpaceX said rough seas resulted in the rocket toppling over and falling into the ocean.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.

The best video games for kids, sorted by age group, for April 2019

There are a wealth of great games out there that both parents and kids can enjoy together. We compiled a list of 30-plus games across all genres that are sure to make family game night a great time.
Emerging Tech

U.S. police are testing out Batman-style bola guns to catch criminals

U.S. police are taking a page out of Batman’s playbook with a new grappling hook gun, called the BolaWrap, which fires out a kevlar cord able to tie up assailants in the blink of an eye.
Emerging Tech

U.S., U.K. embrace autonomous robot spy subs that can stay at sea for months

Unmanned, autonomous robot spy submarines that are able to stay at sea for months at a time may be coming to both the United States and its ally across the pond, the U.K. Here's what we know so far.
Emerging Tech

Meet the gene-edited bacteria that could make cannabis plants obsolete

Ever wanted to brew cannabis like you brew craft beer? At UC Berkeley, biologists have managed to engineer brewer’s yeast so that it produces the main cannabinoids found in marijuana.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Facebook data security, Ubisoft helps Notre Dame, and more

Join DT Live as we discuss Facebook security issues, Ubisoft's plan to help rebuild Notre Dame, and more. We are also joined by Emily Teteut of Snap the Gap, Jennifer Sendrow of New York Public Radio, and DJ and producer Zeke Thomas.
Emerging Tech

Planet-hunting satellite discovers its first Earth-sized planet

NASA's planet hunting satellite, TESS, has made a new discovery. Last month the satellite discovered its first exoplanet. And now it has achieved another milestone, locating its first Earth-sized planet and a larger sibling planet.
Emerging Tech

Resupply mission carries 7,600 pounds of scientific equipment to ISS

The Cygnus spacecraft has rendezvoused with the International Space Station as part of a months-long resupply mission. The craft will remain docked until July 23, while the crew take in the 7,600 pounds of research equipment it carried.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers surprised to find deep lakes of methane on Titan

In the two years since the Cassini probe burned up in Saturn's rings, data from its recordings is still being analyzed. The latest research has shown that Saturn's largest moon, Titan, hosts deep liquid lakes of methane on its surface.
Emerging Tech

Happy birthday, Hubble! Telescope celebrates with image of Southern Crab Nebula

In 1990 the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into low Earth orbit, where it has remained for nearly three decades collecting information about deep space. To celebrate its birthday, Hubble imaged the beautiful Southern Crab Nebula.
Emerging Tech

Star gives off superflare equal to 80 billion megatonnes of TNT. That’s a lot

A tiny star the size of Jupiter has been observed giving off a massive superflare 10 times more powerful than any flare from our Sun. The findings are raising questions about how much energy small stars can hold.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!