Ag drones: UC Davis tests unmanned copters for crop spraying

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Researchers at the University of California, Davis are testing the use of small unmanned helicopters for pesticide spraying at farms and vineyards.
The Sacramento Bee reports a team of agricultural engineers flew a 200-pound RMax helicopter built by Yamaha over the university's research vineyard Wednesday in Oakville.
The flight was done with water instead of pesticides.
The Federal Aviation Administration does not currently allow pesticide spraying from unmanned helicopters as it considers them "experimental" vehicles.
Professor Ken Giles praised the tiny copter's precision as it hovered and sped over vines to a top speed of 12 mph.
A recent study by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International contends the agriculture industry would be the largest market for unmanned helicopter technology.

With contributions from Ed Joyce

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