A December 24th news release from Sea Shepherd, an organization working to stop illegal whaling, describes how a robot helped them locate the Japanese whaling fleet. The non-profit organization recently took delivery of an Osprey UAV built by Hangar 18 Unmanned Aircraft Systems and donated by Bayshore Recycling of New Jersey. The flying robot was named Nicole Montecalvo and is stationed on the Steve Irwin. It was deployed on Dec 24 to search for the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru. The drone successfully located and photographed the ship before any whales were killed. The news release goes on to say:
This time however the Japanese tactic of tailing the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker will not work because the drones, one on the Steve Irwin and the other on the Bob Barker, can track and follow the Nisshin Maru and can relay the positions back to the Sea Shepherd ships. “We can cover hundreds of miles with these drones and they have proven to be valuable assets for this campaign,” said Captain Paul Watson on board the Steve Irwin.
A story in the sUAS news blog provides lots of technical details on the Osprey UAV itself. Click the read more link to see additional photos of the crew launching the drone and photos taken of the Nisshin Maru and Shonan Maru #2 by the drone. See the Sea Shepherd website for info on how you can help.