Researchers look to unmanned drones for shark detection

Unmanned drones could be used to protect Perth beaches from sharks, according to a WA biologist whose research has cast doubt over the effectiveness of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft patrols.

In a study published last month, co-author William Robbins deployed plywood “sharks” off the coast and recorded whether they were spotted by aerial patrols. The research found human observers in helicopters spotted 17.1 per cent of the wooden sharks while people in fixed-wing aircraft spotted 12.5 per cent.

It concluded that aerial shark patrols offer limited benefits for bather safety while giving swimmers an “inflated sense of protection”. Dr Robbins says drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), could potentially carry cameras that can see further into the water than the human eye. … (Read more)

Drone technology: Surf Life Saving Australia is involved in a trial in Queensland that uses drones to detect swimmers in trouble on unpatrolled beaches.