Innovation That Matters

Shark-spotting drone could prevent attacks

Work & Lifestyle

Little Ripper is a UAV modeled after a helicopter, which can monitor the coastline for sharks and drop a rescue payload to those in trouble.

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There were 14 shark attacks last year in New South Wales, Australia, so it is no surprise that the state’s government is keen to find new strategies to protect its citizens. One such strategy is the Little Ripper, a remote controlled drone modeled after a helicopter that can monitor the coastline for sharks and drop a rescue payload to those in trouble.


The Little Ripper is a USD 250,000 UAV being developed by Australian company Skyline, using the military grade Vapor 55 drone. The device, which can cruise for up to an hour, has a high-tech camera onboard that can spot sharks. A piece of software is being developed that will enable the UAV Vision’s CM100 camera to differentiate between shark species, in order to help rescuers work out which sightings require assistance. Eventually, the drone will automatically pass that information onto lifeguards and emergency services.

The Little Ripper is currently being trialled in New South Wales for a six month period after a successful run at Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter base at La Perouse. What else could drones be used to monitor?



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