90-year-old Japanese farmer embraces drone technology

A 90-year-old Japanese farmer recently passed a drone training and flying exam. Mamoru Tanaka is sick of walking around his rice fields while carrying more than 60 pounds of fertilizer on his back. The goal is to deploy an agricultural drone to sprinkle fertilizer over the fields in a smart and targeted manner. The farmer intends to get a permit to fly heavy drones as the following step.

90-year-old Japanese farmer embraces drone technology

Mamoru Tanaka began his agricultural profession after leaving the erstwhile Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation. He currently cultivates rice on approximately 2 acres of paddy fields. However, it became increasingly difficult for him to go through the fields while carrying a heavy sprinkler installation on his back, and he grew interested in agricultural drone applications.

Tanaka completed a five-hour course in aviation law and meteorology, as prescribed by the Japanese Ministry of Transportation, and 10 hours of flight training before passing the theoretical and practical exams at the Drone Pilot Training Association’s training center in Fukuchiyama, Kyoto Prefecture.

The elderly farmer had no issue handling the drone and astonished the instructor with his steady flight. The 90-year-old drone operator, on the other hand, had considerable difficulty gauging the distance to the drone by sight.

Tanaka received a special driver’s license for heavy motor vehicles earlier this month, “to drive something other than a tractor.” The farmer is keen to learn about smart agricultural approaches, such as employing drones to spread fertilizer and wants to incorporate them into his business, according to news outlet Mainichi.

90-Year-Old Japanese Farmer Embraces Drone Technology

90-Year-Old Japanese Farmer Embraces Drone Technology 1

90-year-old Japanese farmer likely to pick the DJI Agras

Tanaka’s agricultural drone of choice is unknown, although it will most likely be one from the DJI Agras series. These are heavy-duty drones that can carry a tank and sprayers to spread highly targeted liquid pesticides and fertilizers.

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This article first appeared on Dronewatch and is written by Wiebe de Jager who is also a DroneXL contributor.

Photo credit: Koji Sato

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Wiebe de Jager

Wiebe de Jager (@wdejager) is the founder of Dronewatch and author of several bestselling books about drone photography. Wiebe is a certified drone pilot and has a full ROC license.

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