Drones used to track wildlife

Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) and The University of Sydney (USYD) have developed a world-first radio-tracking drone to locate radio-tagged wildlife.

Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) and The University of Sydney (USYD) have developed a world-first radio-tracking drone to locate radio-tagged wildlife.

The system has been tested by tracking bettongs at the Mulligan’s Flat woodland sanctuary in Canberra.

The drones have successfully detected radio transmitters weighing as little as one gram, said Dr Debbie Saunders, the lead researcher at ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society.

The robot consists of an off-the-shelf drone or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The custom-built miniature receiver and antenna provide real-time information on radio-tracked wildlife, which are mapped live on a laptop.

“The small aerial robot will allow researchers to more rapidly and accurately find tagged wildlife, gain insights into movements of some of the world’s smallest and least known species, and access areas that are otherwise inaccessible,” Saunders said.

The University of Sydney, Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) researcher, Oliver Cliff, said the technology has generated international interest.

“We’ve had interest in our system from all around the world. We are still doing some fine tuning but we’ve achieved more than has ever been done before,” he said.

“We have done more than 150 test flights and have demonstrated how the drones can find and map the locations of animals with radio tags,” he added.

The system is funded by an ARC Linkage Project Grant and Loro Parque Foundacion. It has been built and tested over the past two and a half years with Dr Robert Fitch and his team at the ACFR at the University of Sydney.

ANU associate professor, Adrian Manning, also from the Fenner School of Environment and Society, has helped the team by attaching VHF and GPS collars on bettongs at Mulligan’s Flat.

“Radio tracking of collars manually is very time consuming. Early indications are that the drones could save a huge amount of time,” Manning said.

“If you have two operators working and they can put the drone up in two bursts of 20 minutes, they can do what would take half a day or more to do using ground methods,” he added.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

By Holly Morgan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?