My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: @agriministryja Poacher Spotting Drones – Ministry of National Security to Determine How Drones can Fly Farther


Saturday, May 16, 2015

@agriministryja Poacher Spotting Drones – Ministry of National Security to Determine How Drones can Fly Farther

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is now officially hooked on Drones.

After the successful test at the Middle Cays and Pedro Cays on Thursday April 23rd 2015 as explained in my blog article entitled “Jamaican Drone Contractors Testing Drones in Pedro Cays – Why Ministry of Agriculture needs Drones to catch Poachers in the Act”, the Ministry of Agriculture wants more power to protect out territorial water from Honduran and Colombians Poachers stealing our Natural Resources.

They're now officially teamed up with the Ministry of National Security to procure more Drones with a longer range and with an ability to fly further than before as reported in the article “Agriculture Ministry To Roll Out Drone Programme”, published Friday May 15, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner and “Drones to monitor Jamaican waters”, published Thursday, May 14, 2015, The Jamaica Observer

Acting Minister of Agriculture, Derrick Kellier, made the disclosure on Thursday May 14th 2015 during a ceremony held at the Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry at Hope Gardens in St Andrew.

In addition to the Drone Program to catch the poachers in the act, Minister of Agriculture, Derrick Kellier also plans to increase the fines for illegal fishing and also plans to pilot a new Fisheries Bill through Parliament

The test flights conducted by the Drones donated by Jamaica Robotics and Avionics Design Group and Jamaica UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) went better than planned as noted in the article “Drone monitoring of island's fishing territory moves closer”, published Friday, May 15, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.

Rainforest Seafoods and the Drone Program – Export more by Protecting our Fish from Poachers 

The Jamaica Robotics and Avionics Design Group had donated a custom designed Drone while the Jamaica UAV had donated a X8 Skywalker Drone which also performed well on the day of testing.

Rainforest Seafoods, who have a vested interest in protecting our territorial waters from poaching donated some US$5000 towards the venture as reported in “Rainforest Moves To Secure Ja's Waters With Drones”, published Friday May 15, 2015 by Keisha Hill, The Jamaica Gleaner.

To quote CEO of Rainforest Seafoods Limited, Brian Jardim, this was long overdue as they need drones to protect their right to Jamaica's Fishing Resources: “Illegal poaching costs the country millions each year and destroys the base of the resources that everyone has a right to. The drone will be the eye in the sky that will have everyone's best interest at heart”.

They also want to break Jamaica's reliance on imported fish, as we're still importing some US$135 million in the livestock from the sea but only exported US$35 million worth of the commodity, a figure that Rainforest Seafoods wants to see increased.

Ministry of Agriculture Poacher Catching Drones – How to make Drones fly Farther

The Ministry of Agriculture and other Stakeholders at the test run at Pedro Cays were probably impressed with the fact that the Drones worked so well over sea, especially in those windy conditions.

Possibly, too they may have noticed that they were easily controlled by the Drone pilot, both within sight of the Drone pilots conducting the test run as well as flying purely via the live Video Feed. The Drones are limited by their range in terms of the Li-Ion Batteries as well as the transmit power to relay Telemetry Data to control the Drone in flight and the video Link, most likely using UHF (Ultra High Frequency).

This as most Drones, which are for the most part model Aircraft, usually have Propellers powered by a pack of Li-Ion Batteries or a single cycle motor powered by Ethanol or Propanol. To increase travel range and distance may require the use of a large Drone with bigger, heavier batteries and a stronger transmitter from the Drone Pilot either on the Coast Guard Boat or at the Coast Guard Headquarters.

The Drone will also have to have an antenna design on the Drone with a higher gain and preferably omni-directional, enabling it to stay in contact with the Drone’s Remote Pilot on the Coast Guard Boat or at the Coast Guard Headquarters.

Most likely in this larger Drone being sourced with the help of the Ministry of National Security may change the Propeller power source to just a single cycle motor powered by Ethanol or Propanol.

The Li-Ion Battery would still be retained to power the electronics that control the Drone as well as the Radios as follows:

1.      Telemetry Radio to transmit Telemetry data
2.      Transponder Radio to identify the plane to ATC (Air Traffic Controllers)
3.      Video Uplink Radio to provide the video link

This video link may be changed to carry a live video feed for three (3) HD cameras on board the Drone:

1.      One Camera at the front for flying the Drone remotely out of sight of the Operator
2.      One swivel dome camera on the bottom to have a 360 degree view of the vessel
3.      One camera on the tail to see behind the Drone

These cameras would also be equipped with Night Vision capability as well as they’d also have an added UV floodlight to allow the Drone to see at Night. Once the Drone, controlled from the Jamaica Coast Guard Patrol Boat spots the Poacher, they’d be able to lock on to its GPS coordinates.

They could also set the Drone in a high circle or follow pattern to track the Poachers and continue relaying a live video feed, should they decide to give chase. This would require additional programming of the Drone’s onboard Micro-controller, as well as the addition of sensors like Sonar, LIDAR and Radar to allow the programmers the ability to have the Drone sense its environment.

So with this bold step forward, by drafting in the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Agriculture is hoping to go the distance with the use of Drones to catch would-be poachers in the act of stealing our commercial resources. I also suspect more uses will be found for these Drones in Agriculture, but that’s for another article.

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