Farming has come a long way since the Industrial Revolution. High-tech equipment, better pesticides and fertilizers, hardier crop strains and other innovations now let a handful of farmers grow enough food to feed entire countries.
Farmers are still always on the lookout for new ways to improve crop yields, and that's why plenty of them are interested in flying drones. In fact, they've been trying to use drones to monitor crops and herds, but the FAA wasn't allowing drones for commercial use. However, that could be changing.
The FAA just approved the Yamaha RMAX for commercial use. This isn't small quadcopter, though. It's a 141-pound drone that looks like a smaller version of a real helicopter.
The RMAX can carry up to 61 pounds of fertilizer and pesticides and put them precisely in hard-to-reach places. Not only is the precision better than you would get with a tractor, it reduces chemical exposure for farm workers.
What's interesting is that the RMAX isn't new technology. In Japan, the RMAX and its earlier models have been operating for 20 years, and 40% of Japan's agriculture is sprayed using drones.
Here's a video of the RMAX in action: