Drones are not new to being utilized in scientific research and wildlife monitoring.
The use of UAVs have always had a high priority as soon as technology made it more available and affordable to public use.
A small, lightweight, quiet device that can hover at amazing heights for a great vantage point is basically a godsend in monitoring wildlife.
That’s because unlike people on foot, a drone can get near wildlife areas without making any startling noise or sound that may ruin the flow of an animal’s behavior in his natural habitat.
A university in Boulder, Colorado has recently been collaborating with a group of scientists from the Cetacean Echolocation Translation Initiative (CETI) with the main goal of using a drone to track whales in the open water.
The university’s team spearheading this endeavor is made of 12 engineering students, where they aim to not only use drones to find and track whales, but to also learn more about language used by these gentle giants.
“We’re designing a drone that will be launched from a vessel that will fly for 100km endurance, around the ship and it will scout for whales in the ocean,” said Severyn Polakiewicz, the project manager for the Search and Help Aquatic Mammals UAS (SHAMU) student team.
The drone itself is equipped with an HD camera that would capture the photos at a high vantage point. This would in turn be interpreted by the researchers with the hope of being able to locate whale activity in the area.
The drone also has a built-in high quality microphone that the research team would hopefully use to record and attempt to translate whale sounds, but of course, the project is still in its initial phases.
This drone project is leaps and bounds more technologically advanced than what research teams are currently using, which is a simple hydrophone paired with some binoculars.