Hood Tech imaging systems are being used by Murdoch University in Australia to determine if unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can provide a cost-effective alternative to manned assets for surveying marine mammals.
The Sacramento Bee reports that the experiment, conducted in commercial air space, followed humpback whales for two weeks and recorded up to 3,000 images in a single day throughout that period.
“Flying for a long time, at a low altitude, well off the coast is a high-risk mission for a manned aircraft. Unmanned systems offer an alternative,” says Insitu Pacific Managing Director Andrew Duggan. “ScanEagle is not only safer than manned aircraft for monitoring mammals, it is also environmentally friendlier. Fuel consumption is an order of magnitude less than manned aircraft.” (The aircraft carrying Hood Tech’s imaging system in this study is reported to fly for more than 24 hours at a time on less than five quarts of fuel.)
Hood Tech’s imaging equipment for real-time surveillance and reconnaissance has been used by airborne video operators around the world since 1993. The experiment monitoring whales follows an earlier successful effort to track large fish species for commercial operators.
Hood Technology Corp. Vision, Inc. (Hood Tech) designs and manufactures imaging and video processing systems for manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, boats, land vehicles, and stationary mounts. The reliability and utility of Hood Tech’s daylight and thermal imaging products has been demonstrated over more than 500,000 hours of operations in a variety of temperatures, humidity, dust, smoke, haze, and other environmental factors (http://www.alticamvision.com).
Hood Technology was founded by Dr. Andy von Flotow in Hood River, Oregon in 1993. In addition to stabilized imaging systems, Hood Technology develops, tests, and manufactures launch and retrieval systems for a variety of UAVs and monitors blade deflections in industrial turbines and jet engines, a diagnostic method for anticipating future failures (www.hoodtech.com).