Drones Flying High To Protect Our Environment

10 September 2016

Drones have taken to the sky across Victoria to test their capability for tasks like koala tracking, monitoring of planned burns and assisting with the broader identification of hazardous trees that pose a safety risk.

The Andrews Labor Government has recently concluded a successful 12 week trial of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS, commonly referred to as drones) for use in land and environmental management.

The trial gave the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) the opportunity to test the capabilities of the aircraft in a variety of scenarios.

It was part of a broader 12-month project looking at a range of different types of drones and sensors.

Recently, the drones have been surveying koala populations at a number of sites in the Barwon South West region, with the aim of collecting data on population size.

The RPAS technology uses remotely sensed data, similar to that of a satellite, to source video and thermal imagery. A range of sensors have been used in support of DELWP’s land and fire management responsibilities.

A recommendation of the independent investigation into the Lancefield-Cobaw fire was that DELWP should consider the use of aircraft for burn security surveillance and planned burning operations.

In response, DELWP will investigate the increased use of emerging technologies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of planned burn surveillance and other environmental management programs.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio

“Our fire and emergency management aviation fleet has almost doubled in the past 10 years and the demand for aerial intelligence gathering has grown significantly.”

“With this technology, we can provide vital information to our firefighters and significantly improve our ability to survey areas that were previously inaccessible.”

“We are taking an innovative ‘digital first’ approach and will use drones to help us better deliver effective environmental management for Victorians.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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