After being grounded by lack of rules, U.S. agricultural drones set to take off In this June 11, 2015, photo, a DJI Phantom 3 drone is flown by Matthew Creger, marketing director for Intelligent UAS, during a drone demonstration at a farm and winery on potential use for board members of the National Corn Growers in Cordova, Md. The small, relatively inexpensive unmanned aerial vehicles could replace humans in a variety of ways around large farms, transmitting detailed information about crops, directing farmers to problem spots and cutting down on the amount of water and chemicals used. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) CORDOVA, Md. – Mike Geske wants a drone.Watching a flying demonstration on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the Missouri farmer envisions using an unmanned aerial vehicle to monitor the irrigation pipes on his farm — a job he now pays three men to do.“The savings on labour and fuel would just be phenomenal,” Geske says, watching as a small white drone hovers over a nearby corn field and transmits detailed pictures of the growing stalks to an iPad.Nearby, farmer Chip Bowling tries his hand at flying one of the drones. Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association, says he would like to buy one for his Maryland farm to help him scout out which individual fields need extra spraying.Another farmer, Bobby Hutchison, says he is hoping the man he hires weekly to walk his fields and observe his crops gets a drone, to make the process more efficient and accurate.“I see it very similar to how I saw the computer when it first started,” says Hutchison, 64. “It was a no-brainer.”Farmers are eager for the technology.The small, relatively inexpensive vehicles could replace humans in a variety of ways around large farms: transmitting detailed information about crops to combines and sprayers, directing them very precisely to problem spots and cutting down on the amount of water and chemicals that a farmer needs to use in those areas.The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade group, says agriculture could account for 80 per cent of all commercial drone use.Agricultural use of drones is about to take off after being grounded for years by the lack of federal guidelines. The Federal Aviation Administration has approved more than 50 exemptions for farm-related operations since January.Companies with those exemptions say business has grown, helped by quick advances in the technology.Bret Chilcott of Kansas-based AgEagle, which sells unmanned aerial vehicles and the software to help operate them, says his company took its first orders last year. Now it has a backlog of several hundred orders. He says the technology has transformed the market during that short period.“Last year users had to land their aircraft and then take the data to the computer,” he says. “Now the data appears on your iPad or hand-held device a few minutes after flight.”That data could be pictures, 3-D images of plants, thermal readings of crops or animals or other observations that a drone could make while in the air. Information that in the past took days to collect — or could not have been collected at all — can be gathered now in minutes or hours and, in some cases, integrated with separate data collected from other high-tech farm machinery.Chilcott is optimistic that the technology to scout out problem spots so precisely will be transformative because farmers can limit spraying just to those places.“In five years we won’t have to blanket a field with chemicals,” he says.Still, most farmers cannot legally fly the vehicles yet.The FAA is working on rules that would allow the drones to be used regularly for business while maintaining certain safety and privacy standards. An FAA proposal this year would allow flight of the vehicles as long as they weigh less than 55 pounds, stay within the operator’s sight and fly during the daytime, among other restrictions. Operators would have to pass an FAA test of aeronautical knowledge and a Transportation Security Administration background check.Thomas Haun of North Carolina-based PrecisionHawk, another company with an exemption, says it is unclear what the business will look like eventually. Farmers may hire services that have unmanned aerial vehicles or every farm may get its own drone. Most likely, it will be a combination.Haun says the proposed rules are appropriate. “It’s pretty spot on for where the technology is right now,” he says.Some people have concerns about the guidelines. Pilots of crop dusters and other planes that operate around farms are concerned the rules do not go far enough to ensure safety.“We can’t see them,” says Andrew Moore of the National Agricultural Aviation Association. His group advocated for the unmanned vehicles to include tracking systems or lights to help airplanes figure out where they are, but that was not included in the proposal.The rules could pose some challenges for the eager farmers, too.Geske may not be able to use drones efficiently to monitor all the irrigation pipes on his 2,100 acre Missouri farm if he has to keep them within sight. He’s still interested, though. The men he hires now use a lot of fuel and their trucks tear up his land and roads.“You can wait forever on advancing technology,” Geske says.___Follow Mary Clare Jalonick on Twitter http://twitter.com/mcjalonick by Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press Posted Jul 6, 2015 4:07 am MDT Last Updated Jul 6, 2015 at 6:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
Christopher Ashford, 62, of Calne, was summonsed in relation to six counts of computer misuse.The pair are accused of illegally accessing CCTV at Bournemouth Mortuary and replaying a post-mortem of the Cardiff City striker – and Dorset grandfather Andrew Latchford.Ashford is said to have watched Emiliano Sala’s post-mortem six times over a 48 hour period.Bray is accused of watching the post-mortem live on February 7 and distributing an image of Sala from the investigation.Prosecutors allege she perverted the course of justice by deleting pictures of the football player from her phone and instructing Ashford to “delete the pics”. Show more “We have carried out a wide-ranging investigation into the circumstances of the death of Mr Sala and continue to work with partner agencies including the Civil Aviation Authority,” said Detective Inspector Simon Huxter at the time. “As part of this investigation we have to consider whether there is any evidence of any suspected criminality and as a result of our inquiries we have today, Wednesday June 19 2019, arrested a 64-year-old man from the North Yorkshire area on suspicion of manslaughter by an unlawful act.”He is assisting with our inquiries and has been released from custody under investigation.” Voice messages of the Argentinian football player were also released after his death, revealing that he was reluctant to join Cardiff City but felt pressured by his agent at the time. “Why was it so hard for them to find something safe?” he said. “Why couldn’t they?”“They left him alone. They left him alone like a dog. They abandoned him.” The revelations caused the ethics of sports agents to be called into question, with claims that Sala felt “abandoned” by those who were supposed to be looking out for his welfare. His father, Horacio Sala, passed away from a heart attack just three months after his son was killed with his final thoughts on the tragedy captured in a BBC documentary. Show more Two people have appeared in court following an investigation into a mortuary photograph of footballer Emiliano Sala.Sala, 28, had just signed for Cardiff City when a plane carrying him crashed into the English Channel, north of Guernsey on January 21.His body was recovered on February 6 after an extensive search, but pilot David Ibbotson, 59, of Crowle, Lincolnshire, has not yet been located.Last month, Wiltshire Police said two people had been summonsed to court after an image emerged showing the striker’s remains.Sherry Bray, 48, of Corsham, was summonsed for three counts of computer misuse, perverting the course of justice and sending an indecent/offensive message. It’s just the latest in a series of tragic developments surrounding the untimely death of the star striker.Last month, a 64-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by Dorset Police in connection with the doomed flight. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.