Despite strict federal rules regulating drones for agricultural usage, University of Missouri Professor Bill Wiebold believes it’s important to plan for the future, reports Jack Witthaus of the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Wiebold spoke about drones at MU’s Bradford Research Center yesterday as part of the Ag Technology Fair. Wiebold said drones have major potential in the future of agriculture. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International wrote in a 2013 report that precision agriculture and public safety could make up 90% of known potential markets for unmanned aircraft systems.
Current Federal Aviation Administration rules ban the use of drones for commercial farming purposes. Wiebold said states are concerned about privacy issues involving drones. Although there have been proposals to limit drone usage, there are no state-level restrictions on drones in Missouri.
Last summer, the MU School of Journalism operated a Missouri Drone Journalism Program in collaboration with the Information Technology Program-sponsored Drone Lab and KBIA radio until the university received a cease-and-desist letter from the FAA. The university then had to apply for a “certificate of authorization,” or a federal permit, to continue using the drones for news-gathering purposes.