When you think of aerial drones, you probably think surveillance of suspicious characters, not plant life. In far north Queensland, the CSIRO is using robot drones to hunt down invaders of a different kind.
The ResQu helicopters are used to assist in hunting down invasive plant types, especially Miconia Calvescens, also known as the “Purple Plague”. The unmanned helicopters surveyed rainforests at El Arish, near Cairns. According to the CSIRO’s Dr Torsten Merz, the ResQu helicopters took two years to develop, but it was time well spent.
“They performed better than expected, finding Miconia plants in dense rainforest that hadn’t been spotted before. Once the invasive plant is identified, they are removed from the rainforest.”