Oceans Unmanned Launches Drone Initiative for Hawaii Whale Conservation




Oceans Unmanned Inc. has announced a new initiative using drones for large-whale entanglement response efforts off of Maui, Hawaii.


The freeFLY initiative was launched in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS), along with additional support from DJI and DARTdrones.


According to Oceans Unmanned, the freeFLY program provides training, equipment and management oversight to a network of Maui-based volunteer drone operators who are available to support the Hawaiian Islands Entanglement Response Network, led by HIHWNMS. The network’s goals are to safely free endangered humpback whales and other marine animals from life-threatening entanglements while also gathering valuable information to reduce entanglement threats in the future.


The addition of aerial imagery from on-scene, vessel-launched drones will provide responders improved situational awareness and increased safety for both the animal and responder, says Ocean Unmanned.


Cutting free a 45-foot, 40-ton free-swimming animal is not an easy task; it can be dangerous. Drones may likely play an important role, as they are a valuable tool toward reducing the risks involved in this type of effort,” explains Ed Lyman, NOAA’s large-whale entanglement response coordinator.


While these off-the-shelf systems can be relatively easy to fly while on land, operating off a small boat and providing the responders the imagery they need in a timely manner can be challenging,” notes Brian Taggart, chief pilot for Oceans Unmanned. “The freeFLY program will ensure all operators are well-trained and equipped, operate at the highest level of safety and professionalism, and meet the requirements under the NOAA permit.”


A recent training class certified three local volunteer operators to support response efforts through the end of the current whale season, with additional training scheduled in the fall.


DJI is donating Phantom 4 Pro systems and accessories to the program. In addition, DARTdrones has provided online Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate test preparation classes for experienced candidates to become federally compliant, as required.


Oceans Unmanned is a nonprofit organization that facilitates the use of unmanned technologies and promotes their safe and environmentally conscious operation to protect the ocean and coastal marine environment. NOAA’s HIHWNMS was established in 1992 to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawaii. The sanctuary emphasizes research, education and community-based resource protection in a diverse set of conservation programs across the state.


Oceans Unmanned Inc.宣布了一项新举措,使用无人机在夏威夷毛伊岛进行大型鲸鱼被缠绕的应对工作。


根据Oceans Unmanned的介绍,freeFLY计划为基于毛伊岛的志愿者无人机运营商网络提供培训、设备和管理监督,这些运营商可以支持由HIHWNMS领导的夏威夷群岛纠缠响应网络。该网络的目标是使濒临绝种的座头鲸和其他海洋动物免于危及生命的垃圾缠绕,同时收集有价值的信息以减少未来的缠绕威胁。

Ocean Unmanned表示,现场船载无人机的航拍图像将为救护人员提供更好的态势感知,并提高动物和救护人员的安全性。

“切割45英尺,40吨的四处游动的动物并不是一件容易的事情,而可能是危险的。无人机可能会发挥重要作用,因为它们是减少这类尝试所涉及风险的宝贵工具,“NOAA的大型鲸鱼缠绕响应协调员Ed Lyman解释说。

“虽然这些现成的系统在陆地上相对容易飞行,但在小船上作业并及时向应急人员提供他们所需要的图像可能是具有挑战性的,”海洋无人驾驶飞机的首席飞行员Brian Taggart指出:“freeFLY计划将确保所有的操作员都经过良好的培训和装备,以最高的安全和专业水平进行运作,并符合NOAA许可证下的要求。”


DJI正在为该计划捐赠Phantom 4 Pro系统和配件。此外,DARTdrones已经提供了在线的第107部分远程试点证书考试准备课程,以便经验丰富的考生能够符合联邦要求。

海洋无人驾驶是一个非营利组织,它有助于使用无人机技术,并促进其安全和环境意识的运作,以保护海洋和沿海海洋环境。 NOAAHIHWNMS成立于1992年,旨在保护驼背鲸及其在夏威夷的栖息地。该保护区强调全州各种保护计划的研究、教育和社区资源保护。

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