Effects of Drone Flight Patterns on Foraging Birds (2016)
For his personal graduation research, student Rinus Bot studied the interaction between unmanned aerial vehicles (commonly referred to as "drones", and birds in the wild. Over the course of several weeks, he fed birds in the wild and flew a drone in their vicinity. Meanwhile, using a camera, he recorded the exact behavior of the birds, which he carefully quantified. Using all the gathered data, he found statistically significant patterns in the responses of birds to various maneuvers of his drone. Not only did these patterns depend on the flight maneuver, but also on the bird species.
Besides his graduation paper, Rinus created a video documentary to explain the relevance of his work. The context that he chose for his project is that of "autonomous scalable wildlife research". See the video below.
As all graduating students, Rinus had both an internal and external thesis advisor. In his case, the project was co-supervised by Katharina Riebel of Leiden University's Biology institute. Such collaborations are a trademark of the Media Technology MSc program and are beneficial to both the student and the advisors.