Drone gift will support UC Merced environmental research efforts

Uncrewed aerial vehicle hovering over a snowy field at UC Merced.

Texas-based startup SeekOps Inc. is donating uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the University of California, Merced, where they will be used in environmental monitoring research projects.

Erin Hestir, assistant director of CITRIS at UC Merced, will use the equipment for her Earth Observation and Remote Sensing (EORS) lab.

CITRIS at UC Merced campus Director Joshua Viers, who leads the USDA AgAid Institute, said, “Developing and deploying new technologies to accelerate a climate-resilient future for our food systems in the San Joaquin Valley and across the globe is at the heart of our research mission.”

Projects the equipment will support include monitoring floodplain restoration near Grayson, mapping wetlands and water flux at the Grassland Water District in Los Banos, and measuring evapotranspiration at the UC Merced Experimental Smart Farm.