Wadi Drone

Drones have, without a doubt, made image capturing easier and faster, and in the case of the Wadi Drone, safer.  Wadi Wurayah National Park is the first national park in the United Arab Emirates. Scientific expeditions are risky, and students at New York University’s Abu Dhabi’s campus created the Wadi Drone to meet the challenge of collecting conservation data in such a harsh environment. In 2015, research began on the Wadi Drone, and designed it to wirelessly retrieve data from camera trap sensors on the ground. All the drone needs to do is fly within 300 meters of the camera traps and all of the images are wirelessly transmitted to the drone. The information is then stored in the drone and can be downloaded by researchers. This drone eliminates the need for helicopters and on-foot expeditions to retrieve photos from sensors, lowering the cost and risk of retrieval and making the data usable sooner. The Emirates Wildlife Society, an offshoot of the World Wildlife fund, partnered with NYU on this project and believes the data from this drone will be essential to shaping the conservation efforts of the terrestrial species within the UAEs seminal national park. 

 A possible downside to relying on a drone to retrieve data from camera traps means that researchers  cannot regularly check in with the status of their equipment. With extreme heat and animal activity, camera traps may be damaged and either stop working or perform poorly, which lowers the quality of the data that the drone collects . 

Hill, A. C., & Rowan, Y. (2017). “Droning on in the Badia: UAVs and Site Documentation at Wadi al-Qattafi.


Biodiversity, Data, Ecological Monitoring, Internet of Things, Monitoring, Regulation, Visual Technologies