My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Why Agrocaelum and Hi-Pro herald the JCAA allowing Drone Racing in Jamaica

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Why Agrocaelum and Hi-Pro herald the JCAA allowing Drone Racing in Jamaica

“We use the latest in technology to serve the farmer and boost production. We can apply crop-care products with a high degree of accuracy, thereby reducing waste of expensive chemicals and fertilisers. There is no ground compaction problem, that tractors can create, and we are able get on spot within hours of a farmer's request to apply the products to solve their problem. Our drone technology is safe and is operated by a trained and licensed pilot”

Executive of Agrocaelum Adrian Haye, speaking about his company's product

Cows, beware! Drones are finally coming to Farming in Jamaica.

Agrocaelum in collaboration with Hi-Pro has introduce the use of drones to spray crops as reported in the article “Hi-Pro Introduces Drone Spraying To Farms”, published Wednesday August 10, 2016, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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Agrocaelum was founded in October 2015 by pilot Kirk Harris and lawyer Marc Ramsay as reported in the article “Start-Up Company Normalising Drones As Tool Of Business”, published Friday August 12, 2016 by Tameka Gordon, The Jamaica Gleaner, they are billed as the Caribbean's first Industrial UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) company to offer drone services to the Agricultural sector.

Executive Adrian Hayes is the company's main pitchman, marketing the company's product as a form of precision agriculture. They made their debut during their showcase at the Denbigh Agricultural Show in Denbigh, Clarendon, their services are now being tested at several farms across the island owned by Jamaica Broilers, including Worth Park Estates as the video below indicates. 

Adrian Haye, an executive at Agrocaelum, point out the benefits of this partnership, quote: “This partnership with Hi-Pro has great potential for improving the productivity and profitability of Jamaica's farming community and we look forward to using this technology to improve crop yield on the farms that we service”.

Their fleet consists of the following drones:

1.      5 7-foot sprayers
2.      2 agricultural intelligence drones

Agrocaelum claims that using drones is more capable of spraying some 12 to 18 acres per hour quietly. Spraying by drone is also more precise and with the lack of a human pilot, cost a lot less. 

Agrocaelum and Hi-Pro - Aerial Surveys similar to Eye in the Sky Project in Montego Bay

In addition to spraying crops, they also offer aerial surveys in partnership with Hi-Pro, quote: “Using infrared sensor technology on board our drones, we can identify the need for fertiliser or chemicals, based on the infrared signature of crops, to determine the best solutions. We can do pre- and post-aerial surveys to locate the problem, apply the treatment and measure the results of our work, so the farmer can save money on chemicals, thereby minimising waste”.

Effectively, this heralds the coming of Precision agriculture to Jamaica. This is very similar to Oregon start-up DroneSeed using drones to replant forest in the Pacific Northwest as explained in my blog article entitled “How DroneSeed Forest Planting Drones can replace Honeybees as Fruit Tree Pollenators”.

This is a very interesting application of drones in Jamaica that's similar to their use in fighting crime in Mobay under the Eyes in the Sky Project as describe in my blog article entitled “Eye in the Sky Project in Montego Bay – How Drones reduce Crime in St James in 6 months as NAITS Initiative gets Rebooted”. 

However it also an example of the double-standards in Jamaica as it relates to the issuing of Drone Licenses as noted in my blog article entitled “JCAA Drones Regulations - Why GOJ Double-Standard suggest Commercial Drone Pilot Licenses are coming”.

So does this indicating that change is coming from the JCAA.

Agrocaelum and Hi-Pro - Herald for JCAA allowing Drone Racing in Jamaica

Jamaica is somewhat behind our counterparts, whose FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) has finally relaxed Regulations on drones and their use in commercial enterprise as noted in the article “FAA just made it easier to make money and save lives with a drone”, published June 21, 2016 by Joshua Goldman, CNET News.

Still, if Agrocaelum can partner with Hi-Pro to privately test drones, does this mean that the JCAA (Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority) will soon be relaxing local drone regulations to allow commercial Drone services.

This could potentially including Delivery services and Drone Racing as predicted in my blog article entitled “Why JCAA Special Aerial Work Permit needs to be adjusted to promote Professional Drone Racing”.

So I’ve hope this succeeds!

This as it may result in the JCAA relaxing regulations and allowing Commercial drone activity such as Drone Racing! Many talented Jamaican with Mechanical Engineering skills can build drones to compete in live televised programs that would be hugely popular among Jamaicans!


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