New SeaBee Pilots Ready to Fly

Preparations are well underway for the main field season in SeaBee for 2024. 

SeaBee Research Infrastructure relies on drone-based data collection by experienced pilots and marine biology experts. Ensuring drone pilots are trained in the latest techniques and are up-to-date with new regulations and certifications is a key part of collecting data for mapping, monitoring and research along the Norwegian coastline.  

Drones-eye-view of the NIVA team getting ready to learn new skills in drone flying at Ølbergholmen,Larvik.
Drone Pilot Training 

At the end of March, a team from NIVA headed out to Ølbergholmen (Larvik) to train new pilots, and test the latest sensors and new EVO drones (New EVO drones added to SeaBee Family)  

“We had bright conditions, around 10°C, so relatively good for March, but the weather forecast was not so accurate, and there was more wind than we would have hoped for and expected. However, this was not a show-stopper, as the very lower levels of air were calm enough (less than 10m/s). Our larger drones were able to map at 60m. During lulls in the wind, we were able to test one of our NEW EVO R VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) fixed-wing vehicles” – Medyan Ghareeb, Drone Operations (NIVA) 


Kristina Kvile (Data Validation lead) and Debhasish Bakta (Web interface development) went through the training manual and the practical procedures around drone flying. Both did exceptionally well flying two DJI Mavic Mini drones, with skills and confidence increasing throughout the day. Kristina and Debhasish are now certified for A2 and A1/3  (respectively). They were supervised by SeaBee pilots Medyan and Øyvind, who later ran some test flights. 

A panorama-like view of the field site where the team went through practical certifications and tested new SeaBee drones.
Testing new drones and sensors 

Øyvind Herman Torp (Drone Pilot) used the breaks between high winds to test the ReefEdge Blue, Altum PT and RGB sensors. He collected datasets using these covering the whole Ølbergholmen area at an altitude of 60 m.  

The wind subsided a little in the afternoon, and some test flights using the EVO R with RGB and Rededge-P dual setup were flown. The pilots were able to collect a complete data set with the Rededge-P sensor, but challenges with the RGB camera means another attempt is needed to fully test both EVOs and collect a full dual sensor data set. 

For details about the technology we use, visit SeaBee Equipment.