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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Unmanned: Investigating the Use of Drones with Marine Mammals

  • Author(s): Brody, Shayna
  • et al.

Unmanned” is a short investigative documentary that will explore the rapidly advancing technologies of using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), more commonly referred to as drones and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), to observe marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, and sea lions. Drones are quickly becoming a predominate and reliable tool for scientific research, commercial industries, and photographers, but currently regulation has been outpaced by technology. While scientists are often hindered when incorporating UASs into their research due to outdated regulations from the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), civilians and commercial operators have ambiguous rules and are often unregulated. Through a series of interviews and field observations, this film will explore the experiences of stakeholders from many perspectives, seeking to inform the best practices to keep people and marine mammals safe while using drones.

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