Observing wildlife using robotsNovember 1 2017
We're using aerial and underwater robots to study wildlife and contribute to their conservation across India. We'll be starting with otters in the Western Ghats, dolphins in the Arabian Sea and dugongs in the Andaman Islands. Before we actually start collecting data on the wildlife itself, we're going to determine how our target species react to our robots.
Aside from being best practice from the ethical point of view, our research will contribute to the growing body of scientific literature on robot-animal interaction and allow us to develop best practice for these interactions. This will help us ensure that in the future, we'll know how best to use modern technology to assist with wildlife conservation.
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We've identified our local conservation partners for each target species and have developed draft methods that we'll be fine tuning over the next few weeks. We've tested our robots in the field; we're currently using an OpenROV 2.8 and a DJI Phantom 3A, but plan to expand our collection of robots to include a home-made fixed-wing aerial robot and the new Trident ROV.
We'll be documenting our work on the OpenExplorer blog and on social media. The scientific outcomes of this set of projects will be disseminated through both peer-reviewed journals and popular science publications.