Logger Attaching System for Sperm Whales Using a Drone
Ryota Murakami*, Takumi Toyoshima*, Daichi Furusawa*, Masaru Suzuki*, Kazunari Masumoto*, Sho Owada*, Yuichi Tsumaki*, and Kyoichi Mori**
*Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Yamagata University
4-3-16 Jonan, Yonezawa City, Yamagata 992-8510, Japan
**Department of Animal Science, Teikyo University of Science
2525 Yatsusawa, Uenohara, Yamanashi 409-0193, Japan
The biologging approach of attaching a logger to the body of an animal provides information that cannot be obtained by conventional direct visual observation. Marine zoologists have used this technique for observing sperm whales preying on giant squids in the deep sea. However, it is almost impossible to capture a sperm whale to attach a logger, because of its large size. Therefore, researchers have used a long pole to attach a logger from a ship to the back of sperm whales. Unfortunately, this method is risky and requires a skilled team. In this paper, we propose a logger attaching system using a drone to solve this problem. The proposed method can be trained on land; thus, it is relatively easy to train a team, and the mobility of the drone can shorten the installation time. Several pieces of equipment developed for the proposed method are described in detail. Furthermore, field experiments were performed with sperm whales to confirm the feasibility of the system. A suction cup of the seventh prototype of the whale rover was adsorbed onto the back of a sperm whale. Although a complete installation was not possible, it was demonstrated that operation was possible in a short time using the proposed method.
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