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Drones May Be Coming To A Beach Near You

Photo courtesy of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Photo courtesy of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Summer brings a higher risk of shark bites and drownings. Lifeguards do their part but what if they had an extra set of eyes up in the sky?

A central Florida professor says drones will help make beach outings safer in the future.

Drones can fly over pretty far expanses, at high and low altitudes and can use remote sensors. That’s why John Robbins says they hold great potential for public safety at the beach.

Robbins researches unmanned aircraft systems at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

“With camera technologies or different types of sensors that are able to pick out things, discriminate things on the ground, like a swimmer that’s in distress or say you were picking out a shadow for a shark, something like that,” said Robbins.

One thing keeping beach safety officials from using drones to scout for sharks right now is federal regulations. They’re still evolving when it comes to the drone industry. Robbins is waiting for rules to come out --possibly in the next couple of months.

He said regulators have to look at how drones can fly safely alongside manned aircraft such as helicopters flying near crowded beaches. Researchers are also looking at how drones can benefit other industries such as agriculture and real estate.