Its been a long few months since the Hackaday Earth Day challenge was first announced, but I've finally got a working prototype of the Aspen V1. It deployed it's first seeds on a field 2 days ago and has had many successful flights since that time. Please enjoy this "launch" video of my drone and thank you Hackaday for hosting the 2021 earth day challenge!
This is the Aspen V1, a dedicated environmental restoration drone platform for planting seed on a massive scale.
On June 5th 2021, the United Nations will launch the decade on environmental restoration in the aim to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide. The simple fact of the matter is, simply conserving nature for future generations is no longer enough, we need to be actively repairing the damage brought on this world over centuries past. Species once considered abundant, even not long ago when I was a child are being pushed to the brink. Forests myself and many friends once explored are now housing subdivisions. We need stewardship solutions and tools that scale massively beyond our current capacity. Locally, regionally, nationally, and globally incredibly talented people have come up with tools and plans to restore our natural environment. We know what we need to do, we just need to turn our plans and resources into action.
To celebrate the launch of the UN decade on environmental restoration and Earth Day 2021 I dusted off some of my old notebooks dating back to 2014 to design and build the Aspen V1. A dedicated environmental restoration drone for spreading seed on a massive scale. This platform can be used for rapidly spreading up to 3kg of different seeds including tree, tallgrass, or wildflower seed! The broadcasting wheels is interchangeable and adaptable for a variety of different seed types. The drone is smart and fully autonomous, built to be capable of completely covering a hectare of land in less than 5 minutes.
It’s not the first seed planting drone ever conceived, since 2014 there have been several successful designs. My desire was to build one for less than $1000 using as many commonly available materials as possible and operated by a minimal crew. Many of the parts are 3D printed using innovative 100% recycled plastic and as much as possible was purchased from local hardware stores. Currently I’m in the process of pushing the limits of what this machine is capable of, but the plan is to put it to work this year if some collaborators are excited to test the machine in partnership.
My passion is this beautiful earth we live on, and my desire is to dedicate my life to preserving and restoring it’s natural beauty. Working in the not for profit and environmental sector has blessed me with the opportunity to develop a somewhat comically wide skill set. This invention is my way of putting some of those skills to use while I look for work after graduation.
In the coming years many of us share a dream where we have halted our production of CO2 and are on a path to a more sustainable future. Part of the path is mitigating the ongoing biodiversity crisis we are facing and restoring the natural environment. We know what we need to do, we just need to put the resources and time into making it all happen. The Aspen V1 will hopefully become a small part of the solution to the big problems we are facing.