Robotic ecology: Tracking small dynamic animals with an autonomous aerial vehicle

Understanding animal movements that underpin ecosystem processes is fundamental to ecology. Recent advances in animal tags have increased the ability to remotely locate larger species; however, this technology is not suitable for up to 70% of the world’s bird and mammal species.

The most widespread technique for tracking small animals is to manually locate low-power radio transmitters from the ground with handheld equipment. Despite this labor-intensive technique being used for decades, efforts to reduce or automate this process have had limited success.

Here, we present an approach for tracking small radio-tagged animals by using an autonomous and lightweight aerial robot. We pres…
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