Six patents reveal plans to have drones handle pest control, fertilizer, and pollination of crops.
Walmart is betting big on drones becoming an integral part of the shopping experience. Patents filed by the company detail drones that go shopping for you, scan shelves for problems, carry out home deliveries, and there’s even a floating blimp warehouse being considered. But Walmart isn’t stopping there, it wants drones on farms, too.
As Reuters reports, 56 percent of Walmart’s revenue is from the sale of groceries. If the company can save money on the production of groceries, it’s going to have a big impact on profit margins. With that in mind, the company has filed six patents relating to the use of drones on farms.
The patents describe drones capable of monitoring crops and precisely spraying insecticides when those insects or the damage they cause is spotted. Not only would this mean better monitoring due to drones being able to function 24 hours a day, it would also allow for much more limited use of chemicals compared to today where whole fields are repeatedly sprayed.
The same can also be applied to fertilizer use and another of the patents discusses drones carrying pollen so as to ensure better crop pollination.
Less chemical use, quicker reaction to and destruction of pests, more intelligent distribution of fertilizer, and better pollination of crops, should mean higher crop yields with lower costs. The end result is cheaper product for Walmart, and hopefully consumers.