In Western Australia’s South West beaches surveillance drones will hit the skies to increase swimmer safety by spotting sharks in the water. This project will take place over a three-month period (from November to January) and will cost approximately $88,000. Surf Life Saving WA (a provider of educational and emergency rescue services) will have four small drones in place using high definition cameras to take live photos, which will in turn, be shown directly to security personnel to prevent any dangerous situation for swimmers. This will cut costs for the Australian Government and its shark mitigation strategy plan by replacing helicopters and patrols. However, the project will need to achieve measurable results to keep its funding; this may be difficult since the drones are going to have to face unique environmental factors in the beaches’ geography and varying weather conditions.

Australian Fisheries Minister, Joe Francis, said, “Drone technology has advanced significantly in recent years and it makes sense to test if it can be used effectively to make our beaches safer. The trial will assess whether this eye in the sky technology can add value to the beach surveillance currently provided by helicopter and beach patrols.”

This is yet another example of drones used to cut costs and increase safety. While this particular project is being conducted in Australia, if the results are favorable, we could see this type of beach drone surveillance in other parts of the world, including the United States, barring any privacy concerns which will surely pop up.