Autonomous Drones Monitor Penguin Colony
Stanford University researcher Mac Schwager entered the world of penguin counting through a chance meeting at his sister-in-law’s wedding in June 2016. There, he learned that Annie Schmidt, a biologist at Point Blue Conservation Science, was seeking a better way to image a large penguin colony in Antarctica. Schwager, who is an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics, saw an opportunity to collaborate, given his work on controlling swarms of autonomous flying robots.
Stanford researchers discuss their multi-drone imaging system, which was tested in Antarctica to help survey colonies of approximately 1 million Adélie penguins.
That’s how, three-and-a-half years later, Schwager’s graduate student, Kunal Shah, found himself at the famous McMurdo Station, ready for the first Antarctic test flight of their new multi-drone imaging system, which coordinates the flight of multiple high-end autonomous drones – but can also work with hobby drones.
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