Farm-i-tude Adapts Agriculture Drones to Make Public Venues Safer
Who saw COVID-19 ending special events overnight? A year later, sports, concerts, reunions, even going back to the classroom are still affected by COVID.
In the hope that 2021 will bring back events, Farm-i-tude has pivoted and focused on using agriculture drones to support the effort to build consumer confidence by spraying venues with cleaning sanitizer. This is precision agriculture at its best.
Flying the agriculture drones to spray sanitizer takes a LOT of practice. Farm-i-tude’s Chief Pilot has been out working with local spring training facilities, from Surprise Stadium to Salt River Fields, before the start of baseball season to test the dwell and drift of the sanitizer’s drones and application. Ali Truman, who has gone through the Farm-i-tude drone program, will handle the drone at Surprise Stadium as the first MLB stadium to build consumer confidence by spraying all seats before the first pitch.
“Calculating sanitizer coverage based on microns and speed is the easy part,” says Truman, “this one is all about the net.” Keeping the drone out of the net takes some practice, but covering 500 seat sections only takes minutes with the drone named Paul.
Wakamatsu, co-founder of the Farm-i-tude program, explained the time and research that went into the sanitizer used on the stadium. Not only does the sanitizer have an efficacy of 60-90 days, but they also have an agriculture arm of the company providing organic products for farmers all over the world.
“I’ve played at this stadium first for the Rangers, then KC when we won the World Series, then back again with Rangers,” says Don Wakamatsu. “So, of course, I wanted to spray this field first. It’s my home field.”
With talented pilots, this sanitizer is not limited to just baseball venues. It can also be used to sanitize playgrounds, football stadiums, and anywhere people want to gather. Facilities want to go the extra mile to ensure they have done all they can to keep their patrons safe.
“This is just the beginning,” says Wakamatsu. “We just added the T16, who’s payload more than doubles what the MG is flying out here, to our fleet. Our teaching program will include not only the industrial work drones but sensors and satellite imagery to help farmers get all they can get out of their crops.”
Farm-i-tude is currently the only foundation in the U.S. that is delivering cleaners via drone. Given the complex set of rules and requirements, there are a limited amount of companies in existence that operate similarly with drones, but no other company gives all of its profits to agricultural projects.
If you want to learn more about the drone project and other agriculture projects, check out our website, Farmitude.org, and see how you can get involved, and check out our article in the New York Times.