The drone makers are leading the whale conservation charge, with a snot-tracking robot that helps Ocean Alliance keep tabs on these giant mammals. What a glorious age we live in!


DJI have gotten involved in plenty of projects and causes in the past, however it’s safe to say that this one represents a departure from the norm.

The firm has teamed up with Ocean Alliance for a long-term study on the health of whales in the wild. A DJI drone has been used to create a device called Snotbot, which helps research teams gather data about whales by capturing the snot they expel when they surface for air.

The expedition took place in the Sea of Cortez and aimed to study the health of the whales that reside there.

All that was required from the DJI end was a standard drone – the kind that many people are now using to capture aerial videos and photos around the world.

Once a special fabric net had been attached, the Snotbot was ready to, well, collect snot. This allowed the researchers to gather physiological and biological data on the animals to assess their health and wellbeing.

The drones allowed the team to capture data at an unprecedented rate, and to see on camera everything that was going on in the animals’ world.

“When the drone came back I was stunned; we were literally dripping with snot,” said CEO of Ocean Alliance Dr. Iain Kerr. Believe it or not, that was exactly his desired outcome for the project.

And of course, since DJI were involved, they managed to capture plenty of stunning aerial imagery and video of the whales in their natural habitat. This was the best kind of animal surveillance – the kind that the animal in question doesn’t even notice.

You can watch a video about the study here:

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