DJI’s Inspire 1 and Phantom 4 has been immensely instrumental in the Ocean Alliance’s study of what is essentially whale snot. The Ocean Alliance is using the two drones in the Sea of Cortez to more humanely collect samples of snot from whales that can help in studying whale’s stress levels, reproductive cycles, and health – a lot of information that can be determined just by analyzing a bit of whale snot.
Using a drone is much healthier for the whales than the previous method, which involved chasing whales with motor boats in order to get a sample. The drones meanwhile are able to collect the sample without the whale being aware of its presence. The drones are fitted with petri dishes and simply fly over a whale skimming the surface in range of its blowhole. Then when the whale exhales from its blowhole, the resulting spray is caught by the drone’s petri dishes. View DJI’s video of the amazing process and read their article for more details about the Ocean Alliance’s study.