UgCS software by SPH Engineering was used to develop a system to autonomously survey. Thousands of high-resolution images were taken on each survey and an AI model (Conservation Metrics) is under development that will automatically identify and count adult penguins and their chicks.
‘Using UgCS with a custom route planning algorithm (Stanford) our team efficiently photographed over 300,000 breeding pairs of penguins at Cape Crozier, Antarctica. Ultimately these surveys will contribute to large-scale assessments of penguin populations and breeding success, key metrics for monitoring the health of the Antarctic marine ecosystem’, Annie Schmidt, a researcher at Point Blue Conservation Science, explains.
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and carried out under Antarctic Conservation Act Permit #ACA 2020-005. A multi-drone imaging system was put to the test in Antarctica in 2020.
SPH Engineering supports penguin studies as a part of its global UgCS Educational program. In 2020 UgCS was used by over 250 universities globally in environmental, archeological, geophysical, engineering, agricultural, biological, and many more areas of application.