The drone, named Scan Eagle, has a 10-foot wingspan. It flies at altitudes from 300 to 1,000 feet for up to eight hours. During Scan Eagle's three- to five-mile flights over the Bering Sea it can capture thousands of images.
"Biologists are thrilled about the image recognition software because it could change the way we monitor seal populations," said Weatherhead. "We can send an unmanned craft out from a ship, collect 4,000 images, and have them analyzed before dinner."
The software can be altered to allow researchers to look for polar bears and other arctic creatures too. Also, having more information about the disappearance of sea ice will allow scientists to better understand how climate change is affecting the arctic.
Polar Bears : Discovery News
Would you like to try you hand at playing "Where's Waldo" with the seals? CIRES has a set of images to challenge your seal spotting abilities.
Try this one:
Could you find it? Here it is!