Louisiana has a problem. Well, it has several problems, all states do, but the problem we’re thinking of, specifically, is wild pigs. Pigs eat everything, including crops, are incredibly intelligent, and very, very good at driving off local species. This makes them both highly destructive and annoyingly hard to find.
So farmers have been out for bacon, and two Louisiana engineers, Cy Brown and James Palmer, are using a flying robot to streamline the process.
Brown and Palmer both work for the Air Force, and essentially decided to apply their engineering skills to this particular environmental fiasco. Essentially the Dehogaflier just an overly elaborate model plane with an infrared camera attached, but it’s pretty effective at finding the ham hocks, as this video shows:
Essentially, the drone finds the pig, and then Palmer uses a night vision scope on the ground to kill it. So how much does the Dehogaflier actually cost?
The drone itself runs around $10,000 with all the gear attached, and it can feed live video to a screen on the ground, where the operator flies the plane with a joystick. It sounds expensive, but it can be far cheaper than hog hunting using other methods.
To be honest, these guys are doing a public service, and they’re actually fairly intelligent about applying restraint: They note they could just strap the thing with a gun, but not unreasonably, people aren’t too enthused about remotely controlled flying robots with guns.
On the other hand, another solution to this is rednecks with hunting rifles in helicopters, so maybe that whole “flying robots with guns” thing might be preferable…