When I was in primary school, the ocean - it was a sacred thing for me. It is dangerous and full of uncertainty. Because of this, the ocean has always intrigued me. When I entered high school, I discovered a second interest - drones. Through research, I soon learned that drones can do various things including monitoring and managing issues towards oceans, with protection and conservation in mind.
As I progressed through high school, I realized that many students close to my age also demonstrate passion towards the ocean environment. Unfortunately, most of them do not have a proper way to get in touch with ocean revitalization. This led me to decide to teach them the skills that I have through the drone pilot certifications I achieved in 2021, and work on drones and UAVs with which I am familiar. Until now, dozens of students are still in my class. They learnt how to assemble, fly and make analysis of the data that we’ve taken. So far, most of them are able to independently work on the assembly, flying and data analyzing.
In 2022, for the efforts I made towards my peers and the wider community, I was nominated to present my experiences at a UN World Oceans Day 2022 forum. Without any doubt, I was full of enthusiasm to immediately confirm my engagement to join this event. I’m very honored that I received this opportunity to express my perspectives towards ocean revitalization, in particular, addressing the importance of advancing and adopting drone technology for this purpose.
Currently, there are difficulties in deploying GIS solutions through UAVs for conducting research studies on oceanology and ocean environment protection, which lead to data insufficiency and inefficient resources allocation. This problem can be further analyzed through the lens of geography, science and management.
In terms of geography, global warming has become a serious problem, and now we are dealing with it. However, because the ocean is so big and difficult to navigate, there are many obstacles and risks, and scholars don't have enough data to analyze and solve problems. Next, with respect to science, drones are one of the most efficient ways to collect more data we need. Continuing developing more reliable drones becomes a goal for all humans. Finally, apropos to management, analyzing data to wisely manage ocean resources and make our planet more sustainable. Referencing the great work done by UNESCO, the scientific and research community are steadily progressing towards integrated ocean management and sustainable ocean economy.
To protect the oceans in a sustainable and systemic manner, we must develop a multi-faceted platform. Leveraging on my past education, experience and experimentation, I have founded the Ocean AirTech Society (“OAS”), aimed to facilitate and conduct operations focused on ocean conservation through six pillars.
First, Research. One of the greatest appeals of drones is their ability to fly without a pilot, which safeguards the safety of our pilots, while also lower cost from both a time and financial consideration. As such, we must collectively invest in ongoing research to support future innovation.
Second, Advocacy. The overall public perception and acceptance of drones need to increase. Drones are easy to handle, and they can contribute more compared to videoing and photography
Third, Impact. We must clearly define, then advocate for and support the realization of impact from the innovation of life-changing technologies and systems, for the benefit of our collective society.
Fourth, Solutions. We must maximize our GIS capabilities to study patterns of Earth's features by analyzing and interpreting data from maps.
Fifth, Education. We must encourage, based on new solutions, STEM-based learning, including robotics, across the younger generation.
Sixth, Responsibility. The importance of safety and responsibility within the aviation industry, including the work related to assembly, setting, flying and maintaining, must be transferred to all future talent.
With the ever-increasing marine pollution and other threatening aspects that are fatal to marine life and monitoring, we as a society can no longer be complacent. We must advance further development of drone technology to deliver and ease marine research and development services, weather forecasting, search and rescue operations, apart from marine monitoring and surveillance.
To this end, the marine ecosystem has witnessed the light of drones in the ways of marine services and operations that vitally factor in the progress and growth of the marine industry, and Oceans AirTech Society aims to amplify this light for the betterment of people and planet.
Lai (Mike) Wei,
LAI (Mike) wei
Ocean AirTech Society (OAS),