“Is that a bird? No, it’s a plane!” Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have started to use small unmanned aircraft to help monitor the local population of Stellar sea lions, but you won’t catch any of these endangered mammals looking up at the Aerovironment Puma AE aircraft, because even at 70 feet away (much lower than an obsvervation flight), the plane sounds like a small fan in the room next door. The plane can carry a high resolution camera, video and infrared as well as 3D equipment to capture the topography of the coastline.
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