Unoccupied Aircraft Systems in Marine Science and Conservation.
The use of unoccupied aircraft systems (UASs, also known as drones) in science is growing rapidly. Recent advances in microelectronics and battery technology have resulted in the rapid development of low-cost UASs that are transforming many industries. Drones are poised to revolutionize marine science and conservation, as they provide essentially on-demand remote sensing capabilities at low cost and with reduced human risk. A variety of multirotor, fixed-wing, and transitional UAS platforms are capable of carrying various optical and physical sampling payloads and are being employed in almost every subdiscipline of marine science and conservation. This article provides an overview of the UAS platforms and sensors used in marine science and conservation missions along with example physical, biological, and natural resource management applications and typical analytical workflows. It concludes with details on potential effects of UASs on marine wildlife and a look to the future of UASs in marine science and conservation.
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