Aerial drone and ocean drones tested off Kohala Coast - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Aerial drone and ocean drones tested off Kohala Coast

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers recently tested aerial and ocean drones off the Kohala Coast.

West Hawaii Today reports the tests involved surfboard-like robots propelled by the power of waves and the sun as well as unmanned aircraft.

Officials hope to eventually use the technologies to find vessels and marine life in distress, conduct wildlife surveys and access hard-to-reach areas.

Office of National Marine Sanctuaries aviation operations director Matt Pickett says unmanned aircraft systems are potentially cheaper, greener and safer than manned flights.

During the tests, two Wave Gliders equipped with acoustic sensors identified the location of a target vessel and relayed that information to an operations center. This information was programmed into the Puma Unmanned Aircraft System, which found and photographed the target.

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