16 Apr Drone Shark Detection – Conservation, Education, Research
Drone Shark Detection
Drones have proven themselves to be an extremely effective tool in the detection of hazardous and non hazardous sharks on Australian beaches. With Department of Primary Industry trials ongoing in NSW, Hover UAV has been conducting this drone surveillance at Kiama, Redhead and Byron Bay spanning almost the entire state. The trials have been effective on two fronts. The first being the public have been alerted and on occasion evacuated from the water in the presence of a hazardous shark keeping the public safe. Secondly using the drone has been a great alternative to nets which is great for shark conservation.
With the success the drone trials have achieved has come another consideration. That being the need to be conscious of the public’s perceptions. An awareness not to spread fear of sharks at local beaches when there are a number of beach closures needs to be at the forefront. It is no secret that sharks have always been off our beaches. However with today’s technology at the forefront and becoming more accessible particularly UAVs or drones, detection methods have improved highlighting the presence of sharks and other marine fauna like never before. Hover UAV understands the difference between a hazardous shark and a non hazardous shark. During shark surveillance Hover UAV works very closely with the Department of Primary Industries and local council lifeguards to ensure the beach is not closed unnecessarily.
In situations where a hazardous shark was present the Department Of Primary Industries, SurfCom and local lifeguards were notified immediately. Measures are taken to evacuate water users and mitigate the risk whilst the drone continues its shark surveillance giving real time data to authorities of the sharks movements.
Drone Shark Conservation
Drones are an excellent alternative to other methods of hazardous shark mitigation. Methods such as nets cause harm to the sharks and also in many instances have a bycatch of such fauna as turtles, cetaceans and dolphins. With UAV technology there is zero harm to the shark and there effectiveness at detection is unrivaled which is excellent for shark conservation.
Hover UAV – Drone Shark Trials Redhead Beach, NSW, Australia
Shark Detection Research
As well as providing aerial surveillance for public safety the drone shark detection trials also have a major research element. Such things as optimal speed, altitude and transect distance are being trialled. Shark behaviours and directions of travel are being recorded. Weather conditions, tidal data and sea state are also recorded to best work out optimal flight paths for autonomous flights and shark recognition software is being developed to ultimately make the detection of hazardous sharks on Australian beaches a viable option year round for shark mitigation.