Mar 26, 2024

FAA clears “Drone Swarms” for agriculture

Posted Mar 26, 2024 7:30 PM

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an exemption for “drone-swarm” agriculture, a method of seeding and spraying crops at a fraction of the traditional cost.

Hylio, a Texas-based drone manufacturer, successfully applied for an FFA exemption to allow fleets of drones weighing 55 pounds or more to fly together. It’s the first exception of its kind for machines that carry what the company calls a “meaningful payload” and makes the process competitive with traditional tractors and seeding rigs.

“On average, you’re spending a quarter upfront on the capital cost to buy the machinery, and the operating cost is about a quarter or maybe a third of what you’d spend for the more traditional stuff,” says Arthur Erickson,