If you have ideas for how farmers can use drones, Land O' Lakes wants to hear them. You might even win $140,000.
The Minnesota-based company is looking for something a little more advanced than flying over things to get cool aerial shots, and more practical than using hundreds of drones to create pretty images in the sky.
Land O' Lakes says drones have the potential to help farmers manage their crops. In fact, that's kind of what many people in agriculture thought would happen as drones became more popular.
Currently if farmers want to use drones, they have to go out into the field, launch the device, take pictures, bring the drone back inside, download the data, evaluate the images, and still figure out what's the photos mean.
"It’s time consuming and the applications are difficult to use," says Mike Vande Logt, COO of WinField United – a Land O' Lakes company that supports farmers. "We have to work through those issues for this to be a practical tool.”
That's where you come in
The Drone Challenge – as it's called – started Wednesday. You have until Aug. 1 to come up with a more practical and efficient way for farmers to use drones.
Land O' Lakes says farmers spend a lot of time dealing with things like increasing sustainability, maximizing yields, maintaining margins, increasing demand, and managing water use.
Data collected by drones has the potential to make all that a lot easier.
To win, your innovation will need to assist with those challenges and ultimately make less work for farmers.
The contest will be managed in part by HeroX – which calls itself a "community of problem solvers." The University of Minnesota will help judge the innovations.
In addition to the $140,000 grand prize, there will be two $5,000 prizes for the runner ups.