As part of the New South Wales government’s $16 million strategy to trial emerging technology to better detect and deter sharks, expanded trials of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are underway in Australia’s Port Macquarie.
Paul Butcher, DPI Fisheries’ senior research scientist, says the trials will put different aerial surveillance methods to the test at the same time to help determine the efficacy for shark-bite mitigation.
“This week’s trial in Port Macquarie is the second time we have compared traditional aerial surveillance using an observer inside helicopters to a drone flying the same path at the same time,” he says. “Drone technology feeds real-time information with GPS coordinates back to the operator, and the trial will test the effectiveness of the technology and its role in shark-attack mitigation. The trial means we’ll be able to compare the vision recorded during the trial and determine the ability of each technology to spot sharks.”
According to the NSW government, recent aerial surveillance programs conducted along the NSW coast have shown to be an enormous success by helping alert authorities and the general public when a shark is posing potential danger to swimmers or surfers.