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Spray drone gathering targets end users, draws national experts

Spray drone technology is a new technology but with limited amount of knowledge and information for new operators to find and use.

Brad Haire

February 7, 2024

2 Min Read
Simer Virk/UGA Extension

Interest in spray drones and the technology’s potential for the agricultural sector continues to grow. But applicable information has lagged. People are coming together to change that.

The 2nd Spray Drone End User Conference starts Feb. 26 in Gulf Shores, Ala. Organizers say the gathering will be the most informative spray drone event in North American specifically for end users.

The goal is to promote legal, safe, effective, and efficient spray drone operation to current and future drone operators.

“Since spray drone is a very new technology, there is a very limited amount of knowledge and information for new operators to find and use. Many of them even struggle with the very basics in aerial application because they lack the experience. As public land-grant institution, we have the obligation to provide credible and research-based information to current and future operators to support their business,” said Steve Li, an Auburn University weed specialist and a leading researcher in spray drone technology.

Conference sessions include:

  • Technical field demonstrations with several of the latest spray drone models, as well as live swath testing.

  • Comprehensive regulatory updates

  • Eight hours of presentations from established researchers, equipment manufacturers and experienced drone operators.

  • Six hours of panel discussions and Q&A with regulatory agency representatives, researchers, equipment manufacturers and experienced custom-spray-drone operators.

  • A technical session focusing on spray drift management and spray drone repair.

“Conference participants can also see the live drone demos from four major brands in field and be able to have hands on experience with auto chemical mixer and swath pattern testing,” Li said.

Simer Virk is the University of Georgia precision agricultural specialist. He said the use of spray drones is expanding rapidly in the United States, and interest in the technology continues to grow.

“This conference is an opportunity for everyone working in this space to share information learned so far and engage in meaningful discussions on how to advance this technology, while promoting its safe, legal and effective use for pesticide applications. This will be a great opportunity to learn about everything related to the current state of spray drones in the U.S. and where this technology is headed within the next year or so,” Virk said.

Registration is available through the Alabama Extension Store. Registration for in-person attendance is now $400. Registration for fully remote attendance is now $250. Remote attendees will have access to all presentations but will not have access to panels and field demonstrations. Recordings of the presentations will be available to all participants after the conference.

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