This post originally appeared on http://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2016-03-09/how-australia-is-using-drones-to-prevent-shark-attacks.
[Editor’s Note: A six-month trial using drones to survey the coastline and monitor for sharks has started.]
Australia has begun a six-month trial program that uses drones to survey the coastline and monitor for sharks in waters below. Dubbed “Little Rippers,” these remote-controlled drones are patrolling New South Wales’ coast and transmitting footage to a team monitoring the live feed. Should there be a Great White (or any shark) sighting, information will be relayed to emergency services, beach lifeguards, and water users. The drones will also be used on search-and-rescue missions and have the ability to drop rescue packs with life-rafts, positioning beacons, defibrillators, and other lifesaving equipment. The drones can stay airborne for about 150 minutes, and can also spot sharks at night thanks to infrared technology.
There were 14 shark attacks off NSW last year, including one fatality, and there has been one attack thus far in 2016. Depending on the outcome of the trials, 40 of the drones will most likely be distributed around Australia next year.