ACT Government arming a robot with poison

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Ranger in Charge, Murrumbidgee, National Parks and Catchments, Shelly Swain, says a remote controlled helicopter drone will be used in the fight blackberry in the ACT.

“The latest weapon in weed control, a 3.6 metre long unmanned Yamaha helicopter equipped with two 10 litre tanks of herbicide, will take to the skies to combat blackberry infestations south of Cotter Dam,” Shelly said.

“This type of technology is already proving beneficial in weed management activities in the ACT and other parts of Australia and it will allow us to manage an infestation which would otherwise be inaccessible.

“From a distance of over 200 metres away, we will be able to guide the drone over the steep topography of the landscape using the helicopter’s navigation technology. The Drone’s hand-held control unit will allow us to ensure a precise application of the herbicide.

“The drone technology saves considerable time and resources, allowing more areas in steep terrain to be treated.

“This method of invasive weed control will be more common in the future. The time it saves Parks and Conservation Service staff and Parkcare volunteers will allow them to focus on other weed control activities.

“If left uncontrolled blackberry smothers native vegetation. Extensive blackberry thickets also harbour feral animals and increase fire intensity. It is important we protect the ACT’s water catchments.”

The ACT Government budgeted $2.1 million this financial year for invasive weed control across ACT’s parks and reserves, which consolidates on significant works undertaken in previous years.

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