Case ID: M23-217L^

Published: 2024-06-16 11:33:47

Last Updated: 1718537627


Jnaneshwar Das
Devin Keating
Cole Brauer

Technology categories

Agriculture/Animal HealthEnvironmentalLife Science (All LS Techs)Manufacturing/Construction/MechanicalVaccines/Antimicrobials

Licensing Contacts

Jovan Heusser
Director of Licensing and Business Development
[email protected]

Drone Deployable Automated Pellet Dispensing System

Black-footed ferrets have become one of the most endangered animals in North America due to the emergence of the sylvatic plague, a flea-borne bacterial disease of wild rodents. To mitigate the loss of this species, a sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) has been developed in combination with a peanut butter bait for oral administration to wildlife. Current administration routes for SPV baits include hand delivery, off-road vehicles, or unmanned aircraft systems equipped with a hopper. However, these delivery means are time consuming, effort intensive, frequently jam, and may not be viable in restricted areas. Further, hand delivery and off-road vehicles are potentially more destructive to soils and vegetation.  
Researchers at Arizona State University have developed an efficient drone deployable payload mechanism designed for automated dispensing of vaccine-pellets in a metered fashion. This system also includes an anti-jamming mechanism for a more robust operation. Integrated with a flight controller, the system is preprogrammed to precisely deploy multiple pellets from the UAS in a manner that provides for uniformity, increased coverage, and optimized flight operation. Because this utilizes drone technology, there are minimal disturbances to the habitat and increased accessibility to difficult to reach areas. While initially developed for vaccine pellets, this system could be used to deploy other payloads that support conservation.
This technology provides a low-cost, robust and efficient system to deploy pellets for a multitude of wildlife and nature conservation applications with minimal habitat disturbance.
Potential Applications
  • Wildlife/nature conservation
    • Disease control, particularly sylvatic plague
    • May utilize fertilizer or pesticide pellets for agriculture applications
    • May utilize pellets for water treatment
    • May utilize pellets packed with seed for restoration efforts
Benefits and Advantages
  • Efficient and lightweight payload mechanism to minimize demand on the UAS
  • Multiple dispenser capabilities
    • Reduces operator mission planning
    • Reduces the number of dispensing points and flight legs by 66%
    • Maximizes dispensing time vs transiting between flight legs
  • Low-Cost
    • Can utilize 3D printed components
  • The flight controller enables easy maintenance
  • Includes an anti-jamming system to enable robust operation
For more information about this opportunity, please see
For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see