What one drone can do, several drones can do faster. Scientists were able to use multiple UAVs managed by SPH Engineering’s UgCS drone fleet software to survey one of the largest Adélie penguin colonies in the world in less than 3 hours.
The UgCS drone fleet software has been used for everything from drone light shows to geospatial applications. Scientists from Stanford University, Point Blue Conservation Science and Conservation Metrics were able to use the UgCS software to develop a system for the autonomous measurement of a huge colony of Adélie penguins in Antarctica. Using multiple drones, the project, which would have taken 3 days, was completed in a fraction of the time. “Thousands of high-resolution images were taken in every survey,” the press release said. These images are used with a Conservation Metrics (AI) model that is currently being developed to automatically identify and count adult penguins and their chicks.
‘Using UgCS and a custom route planning algorithm (Stanford), our team efficiently photographed over 300,000 breeding pairs of penguins in Cape Crozier, Antarctica. Ultimately, these surveys will provide a comprehensive assessment of penguin populations and breeding success, key metrics for monitoring the health of the Antarctic marine ecosystem, ”said Annie Schmidt, researcher at Point Blue Conservation Science.
The first image shows the raw image of the drone and the second image enlarges the same image to show the view when training the counting model.
From the press release:
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and conducted under the Antarctic Conservation Act Permit #ACA 2020-005. A multi-drone imaging system was tested in Antarctica in 2020.
SPH Engineering supports penguin studies as part of its global UgCS education program. In 2020, UgCS was used by over 250 universities worldwide in the fields of environment, archeology, geophysics, engineering, agriculture, biology and many other fields of application.
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