Each week, Commercial UAV News takes you around the industry with a look at some stories you may have missed. This week, we focus on the ways drone adoption is growing in China and Australia, new training opportunities for pilots, and an unusual use case in the farming industry.

Drone Adoption Soars in Australia and China
A recent story in Spatial Source highlighted growing commercial drone adoption in Australia. The piece cites an Australian Federal Government study claiming there are “10,000 drones currently operating commercially in Australia and each month, more than 700 people are being trained in drone operations, alongside over 100 companies gaining licenses.” The report went on to say that the integration of commercial drones could produce savings of some $10 billion in the country.

Similarly, the China News Service reported on statistics from the Civil Aviation Administration of China. The agency stated that China had 1.27 million registered drones by year’s end 2023, and the number of registered UAVs has been “increasing by 32.2 percent year-on-year.” The article went on to state that Chinese civil drones, deployed in fields such as “agriculture, forestry, livestock farming and fishery, as well as entertainment and photography,” recorded some 23.11 million flight hours last year.

New Training Opportunities
Over the past year or so, Commercial UAV News has been covering new training opportunities for drone pilots. In February, we reported on the ways the growth of the commercial drone industry has changed operations at flight schools, and we offered advice for pilots looking to further their careers. Continuing our efforts, we will be hosting a webinar, Emerging Opportunities for Drone Pilots, later this month.

Recently, we discovered two new ways that pilots can receive specialized training and move ahead in their chosen field. First, Yahoo!Finance reports that the drone banner towing company Sustainable Skylines and USI are working together on program focused on training pilots in aerial drone advertising operations.

Also, according to a Dronelife report, Warren County Community College (WCCC) in New Jersey announced that it has received a federal grant of $699,000 to enhance its drone-focused precision agriculture program. Long a leader in uncrewed aviation education, WCCC will use some of the funding to “fund research and the establishment of an accelerator lab aimed at fostering innovation in precision agriculture and related fields.”

Drones on Tomato Farms
Some of the most innovative uses of uncrewed systems can be found on farms. In recent months, Commercial UAV News has reported on Kansas’ Valentine Brand, which offers new ways to use drones for pesticide, fungicide, and fertilizer spraying, along with a University of Arkansas program that helps farmers make better purchasing and operational decisions when incorporating drones.

Another innovative agriculture application can be found in Australia, where drones are helping on tomato farms. According to an article in Context, Perfection Fresh, one of Australia's largest tomato producers, is using drones to pollinate crops in covered environments, like greenhouses. “Turbulence from the drones' propellers helps to maximize the vibration of the flower's reproductive parts and disperse the pollen - leading to higher crop yields,” the story said.