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It used to be that unpiloted aircraft called drones were used only by the military. The little planes were very costly. But as drones have dropped in price more people have begun to use them. Rescue workers and farmers are among the new users. A French company is using drones to help farmers examine their crops and limit the amount of fertilizer they use. The fast development of computer technology, image sensing devices, satellites and personal smartphones has led to lower priced drones. And researchers have learned how to build the smaller and less-costly drones that individuals, companies and governments demand. Now farmers are using them to watch over their crops. Romain Faroux is a French businessman who starts companies. His father was a farmer. He believed drones could help farmers. So he helped create a company that developed a small drone that could be controlled by people on the ground. They called it “Agridrone.” It uses a special kind of eye-like sensor to examine crops. He says the technology used is similar to that used by smartphones — except that it has wings. A computer program directs the drone to fly over the crops. Farmer Jean-Baptiste Bruggeman says the drone flies over his crops and it gives him a lot of information. He says the drone pictures show him the exact amount of fertilizer the crops need and where. Romain Faroux says farmers placing fertilizer only in areas where it is needed saves money and reduces pollution. And, drones save time by being quick. They can examine up to three hectares in about a minute.