Drones and pesticide

GDG Environment and SPH Engineering had a nice press release and video of the work that they have been doing on keeping mosquito larvae down, by optimising spraying patterns. GDG Environment provide the different drone and payload models, while SPH provide the software and telemetry. By attacking the larvae at the right time it means that the chemicals involved can be less harsh on the environment and more effective. Some of this research was funded by Health Canada and it is good to see optimised solutions against vectors that carry some of the biggest threats to mankind in the poorest countries. 

It is not hard to see, however, that as these kinds of applications increase, and improve, the chance of them being used for nefarious reasons increases. Real world experiments allow improved modelling and software for downwind dispersal of pesiticides, and this will inevitably have implications for all kinds of releases, from obscurants through to riot control and even CWA. Current offensive drone operations, utilising 40mm grenade drops, require either a large amount of luck or user skill, the misuse of this kind of capability is going to move offensive CBR drone operations from 'too difficult' to 'achievable.' 

To be clear, this is not a slight or either GDG or SPH, the work that they are doing is vital and will save lives and help the environment. They are also not alone in creating these kinds of solutions, and CBRN responders are going to need to bring scenarios where such solutions are used for ill-effect into their training regime as a real risk, rather than a 'speculative' one.  

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