Detecting Sharks with Drones | NewsWatch Shark Week

By: Kassidy Coleman

According to National Geographic, around the world last year there were 98 shark attacks, including six human fatalities, which ended up being a new record. But why the sudden increase of attacks and how do we prevent them from happening? Well, The International Shark Attack File says that there are a few reasons shark attacks increased, included global warming, lack of storms, and just more vacationers going to the beach. Regardless of why these attacks happen, researchers at Duke University and UNC are looking for a way to keep beach goers safer when on the beach by using drone technology to detect where sharks are in the water.




Of course the best way to avoid shark attacks would be to completely abstain from getting into the water…but we all know that’s not very fun. Luckily these researchers figured out how to use drones to watch out for sharks for us. The study, which has been funded by the North Carolina Aquariums, has been going on for over a year. Dave Johnston, a Marine Lab assistant professor from Duke University stated, “This is one of the first studies aimed at how we are able to detect sharks.”


To see how reliable their drones were, the researchers ended up creating decoy sharks out of wood. After a year of experimenting, the researchers say it looks promising. The drones can detect sharks when they are about a meter deep in the water, even when the water is murky. Johnston hopes that soon drone technology will be able to tell beachgoers where there are sharks in the water, and thus reduce shark attacks.


Drone technology is also being used in a similar fashion to study and track sea turtles, seals, and debris on more remote beaches. Although this technology probably won’t be something used at beaches for awhile, we definitely think it’s pretty cool to see drones being used in this way.


How else do you think drone technology could be used to benefit the study of animals? Let us know in the comments below or join in the conversation on Twitter!


Check these out:

Wearable Technology…for Sharks? 

Microsoft Pays out $10,000 for Pushing Windows 10


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