An extremely cool drone application has emerged in Seal Beach, California, where lifeguards have found an innovative way to protect swimmers from sharks. The Seal Beach Marine Safety and Lifeguard Department has recently procured a DJI Phantom 3 drone which provides a live HD view of the sea. When a shark is spotted by a
An extremely cool drone application has emerged in Seal Beach, California, where lifeguards have found an innovative way to protect swimmers from sharks. The Seal Beach Marine Safety and Lifeguard Department has recently procured a DJI Phantom 3 drone which provides a live HD view of the sea. When a shark is spotted by a beachgoer, lifeguards ensure the beach is closed and then use the drone to scan the shore. By watching the aerial video on a tablet, they are able to locate the sharks quickly and easily.
Previously, lifeguards needed to utilize boats and jet skis to scan the shore for sharks in order to determine if the beach was safe for the public. That method took about two hours to complete, required much manpower, and was usually unsuccessful as the sharks were temporarily scared away by the sound of approaching motors. By contrast, with this drone system, they’re able to alleviate noise problems to ensure a much more effective shark watch program. It also reduces the scanning time to about 20 minutes, a huge improvement.
The sole drone that is currently being used does not have the ability to autonomously sense sharks or count them for research purposes. This means that an operator is required to continuously monitor the video. If sharks are located, the pilot informs the authorities and the beaches are closed to the public immediately.
It’s important to note, as well, the program is somewhat hampered because the process of COA authorization from the FCC is currently in progress. As such, the lifeguards cannot use the drone when there are people present on the beach.
What’s more, unlike the drones being used in the Arctic Sea, no analysis is done presently to monitor wildlife for scientific study purposes. But what if research features were incorporated into the UAVs so they could be put to use in this way, maximizing their utility? What if the drone could monitor the sea levels and temperatures in addition to locating sharks? This would only make this cool drone application even cooler.
Your thoughts? Is such an application feasible? Or would it be a useless feature that would only eat up a lot of resources. Do let us know by commenting below!
Image via: Drone Flo