Take any completely outlandish idea and put the word ‘Florida’ in the same sentence and all of a sudden it makes a lot more sense. The US state, known for its roaming gangs of blood-sucking mosquitoes, is hoping to take to the skies to help battle the menace by using camera-equipped drones to spot shallow pools of water where the insects breed and reproduce.
This month, members of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District will be testing the plausibility of using a hawk-like drone equipped with an infrared camera to spot areas where standing water is probably serving as a high-output nursery for mosquitoes. Since the drone can stay aloft for up to 90 minutes it will be used to locate and geotag hotspots up and down the state that can be later treated with larvicide, wiping out mosquitoes before they mature and become a flying menace.
Of course, drones don’t come cheap, but an autonomous vehicle that can fly low enough to the ground to be an effective spotter is still considerably more affordable in the long run than a human-piloted aircraft. But hey, given who we’re dealing with, maybe we should just be glad they’re not napalming the whole state with pesticide. [KeysNet via IEEE Spectrum]