There’s a little Aussie company taking military grade drones and putting them to use in the vast and remote expanses of Australia in ways that couldn’t have been foreseen just a few years ago.
Using some serious drone technology, Ninox robotics is taking these miltary-grade unmanned-aerial-vehicles (UAVs) to places they were never envisaged to go when they were designed and created – originally for military surveillance purposes.
With regulatory approval, the team conducted a trial in remote Australia which was able to locate a person, the source of a fire and even track and locate a feral pig.
All this may seem rather mundane, but in remote and rural Australia these are things which have previously required extensive ground searches or the use of a helicopter.
Interestingly, the trial was also conducted overnight, which could give new hope to missing persons searches that are often called off overnight and resumed each morning.
For farmers, the ability to track and locate animals like feral pigs which can cause great harm to livestock and farmlands could cut down the amount of search time used to locate the animals on extremely vast properties.
Marcus Ehrlich, Managing Director of Ninox Robotics, said, “Australian landholders and managers have been struggling against the problem of invasive pest species for decades, including feral dogs, pigs, deer and rabbits. The issue has caused cumulatively billions of dollars in damages and lost revenue, as well as significant destruction to the country’s unique biodiversity. With the application of UAVs, we have a new weapon in this fight, which will provide unparalleled effectiveness in pest detection and enhance existing control techniques. It’s a quantum leap over any of the current pest intelligence gathering methods currently available.”
An extensive three-week trial period is about to be conducted across southern Queensland and northern NSW to test the effectiveness of the UAV’s thermal imaging camera across a variety of terrain types in both the day and night.
The drone itself is an impressive unit, built by BlueBird Aerosystems, with a wingspan of almost 3m, and a fuselage length of over 1 meter. The flight time is over four hours, and can cover 100 square km in that time with a top speed of 120km/h.