The Centaur optionally piloted DA-42 aircraft (OPA) flew above the expedition area in a predetermined flight pattern to help scientists onboard the OCEARCH ship target identify and track the location of the sharks in real time.
Remotely piloted by an air vehicle operator (AVO) onboard OCEARCH’s vessel, Centaur scanned the mission area with a FLIR 230 infrared sensor to pick up heat signatures and movements in the waters below.
The live downlinked imagery from the sensor displayed on Centaur’s shipboard ground control station allowed OCEARCH to widen their search capabilities, according to company officials.
“We are thrilled about our new partnership with OCEARCH and Centaur’s ability to expand on the process for identifying sharks,” said Aurora Chairman and CEO John Langford. “The expedition allowed us to demonstrate the technological and operational capabilities of Centaur, and more importantly, the value and benefits of utilizing optionally-piloted aircraft for a variety of missions, which now includes maritime.”
With a total of five great whites tagged, the three-week expedition was a huge success for OCEARCH and the organization’s ongoing scientific research of the North Atlantic White Shark.
“We are so grateful for Aurora Flight Sciences and their donation of a plane with full infrared and video technology,” said Chris Fischer, OCEARCH Founding Chairman and Expedition Leader. “They are a socially innovative company that is helping us learn faster so we can create an abundant future for generations to come.”