One of the largest Adélie penguin colonies in the world was surveyed with multiple-UAVs. Survey time was reduced from three days (with a single drone manually piloted) to less than three hours. The work was led by a team of experts from Stanford University, Point Blue Conservation Science and Conservation Metrics.
UgCS software by SPH Engineering was used to develop a system to autonomously survey. Thousands of high-resolution images were taken on each survey, and an AI model (Conservation Metrics) is under development that will automatically identify and count adult penguins and their chicks.
“Using UgCS with a custom route-planning algorithm (Stanford), our team efficiently photographed over 300,000 breeding pairs of penguins at Cape Crozier, Antarctica,” explained Annie Schmidt, a researcher at Point Blue Conservation Science. “Ultimately, these surveys will contribute to large-scale assessments of penguin populations and breeding success, key metrics for monitoring the health of the Antarctic marine ecosystem.”