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Feral Fighters

Feral Fighters

10/08/15

Australia has around a dozen invasive feral species, from wild pigs to dogs, and an Australian company, Ninox Robotics, wants to send military-grade drones chasing after them.

To get rid of the pests, which can kill livestock and damage land, Australian farmers have tried hunts and poison for decades. “Quality intelligence” has been lacking in this particular fight, explained Marcus Ehrlich, managing director of Ninox Robotics.

That’s where Ninox Robotics’s drones come in. The team is in the process of testing their SpyLite drones in what they claim is the most ambitious civilian trial ever undertaken in Australia. The three weeks worth of testing is running in Queensland and New South Wales, and aims to manually spot a variety of feral animals and relay that information in real-time to pest control specialists, among other missions.

The team won trial approval from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to fly the drones beyond line of sight, to a height of more than 400 metres and at night — a civilian Australian first, according to Ninox Robotics. CASA’s spokesperson, Peter Gibson, confirmed the company has trial approval, but said he had no idea if they were the first.

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