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Spying on Europe’s farms with satellites and drones

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BBC News
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The EU is hurrying to develop a “strategy for Unmanned Aircraft Systems”, which would see the existing very tough restrictions on the use of civilian drones in Europe relaxed.

discussion paper prepared for a European Commission workshop in Brussels this week, envisages their use not only in crop or farm monitoring, but also terrain cartography, goods transport, monitoring of borders, the fight against illegal immigration and drug trafficking, and intervention in natural or industrial disasters.

Farmers these days have to keep their land in “good agricultural and environmental condition” to qualify for subsidies, so images also reveal whether the farmer is complying with the rules on hedges and ponds, say, or buffer strips around arable fields.

Drones are best known for their role as remote-control killers in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal areas, but supporters see a role for smaller and much simpler drones in agricultural monitoring. They can get up close and take sharp photographs – and unlike satellites, which always look directly down, drones can get an angled view of their subject.

Full story here.

This article was posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm





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