Drone Monitoring Project Gains ‘beyond Visual Line Of Sight’ Aviation Approval To Help Protect Māui Dolphins
, 2023-01-18 05:19:00,
A project aimed at protecting Māui dolphins using drone monitoring technology has been granted beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) approval by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), to enable tracking of the threatened mammal.
Tane van der Boon from MAUI63, the non-profit wildlife technology organisation that has successfully developed a drone capable of finding and tracking Māui dolphins using artificial intelligence (AI), says gaining the CAA approval is a “huge win”.
“To effectively track the Māui dolphins, we need BVLOS to fly far offshore, to survey their entire habitat,” Mr van der Boon says.
“It means we’ll be able to get out and survey up to 50km away from the pilot in a single flight without any observers required for spotting the drone or surrounding airspace.
“This will take our work to the next level and allow us to collect better data than ever before.
“We’ll be able to monitor the dolphins continuously, which will help us predict their movements more accurately, and better understand the ecology of this species.
“We’ll then ensure the information is shared with anyone who needs it, to help put data-driven protection measures in place.”
MAUI63 joins a handful of organisations in New Zealand with full-time BVLOS approval for a remotely piloted aircraft. The…
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