- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Louisiana Hog Control, an extermination company that launched in 2011, says it has killed more than 300 pigs in the past six months using radio-controlled aircraft that transmit messages to hunters on the ground — the latest inventive use for drones.

The unmanned crafts root out the feral pigs — a massive destructive force for farmers and a major safety threat to civilians — using thermal imaging cameras, Fox News reported. And company owners Cy Brown and James Palmer say they’re seeing huge success with their service, and they expect more of the same for the future.

“Obviously, it’s not completely new technology, but some of the sensors and computing power has gotten to such a state to where it’s very easy to build these things, have them last a long time and for them to have a little bit of brains,” Mr. Brown said about the drones in the Fox News report.

The craft flies about 400 feet above the ground, though it’s capable of much higher altitudes.

“The aircraft is certainly capable of going thousands of feet, but generally the working altitude is 400 feet,” Mr. Brown said. “And it’s hard to say whether it will be big business, but I know people who are making their living doing this.”

The bulk of the system — aircraft, along with computing technology — costs about $2,000. The thermal imaging camera, however, is a bit pricier, at about $10,000 minimum, Fox News reported.

On top of that, Mr. Brown said his company will actually pull the trigger on each pig — at about $25 per hog.

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