NANTUCKET, Mass., Nov. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Aurora recently partnered with OCEARCH, a world-leading marine conservation organization, to provide aerial support locating and tracking great white sharks off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts. The Centaur optionally piloted DA-42 aircraft (OPA) flew above the expedition area in a predetermined flight pattern to help scientists onboard the OCEARCH ship target, identify and track the location of the sharks in real time.
Remotely piloted by an air vehicle operator (AVO) onboard OCEARCH's vessel, Centaur scanned the mission area with a FLIR 230 infrared sensor to pick up heat signatures and movements in the waters below. The live downlinked imagery from the sensor displayed on Centaur's shipboard ground control station allowed OCEARCH to enhance their mission by widening their search capabilities through the use of this technology offering. "We are thrilled about our new partnership with OCEARCH and Centaur's ability to expand on the process for identifying sharks," said Aurora Chairman and CEO, John Langford. "The expedition allowed us to demonstrate the technological and operational capabilities of Centaur, and more importantly, the value and benefits of utilizing optionally-piloted aircraft for a variety of missions which now includes maritime." With a total of five great whites tagged, the three-week expedition was a huge success for OCEARCH and the organization's ongoing scientific research of the North Atlantic White Shark. "We are so grateful for Aurora Flight Sciences and their donation of a plane with full infrared and video technology," said Chris Fischer, OCEARCH Founding Chairman and Expedition Leader. "They are a socially innovative company that is helping us learn faster so we can create an abundant future for generations to come." To learn more about Aurora and the capabilities of the Centaur OPA, visit www.aurora.aero. About Aurora Flight Sciences:Aurora Flight Sciences is an innovative technology company which strives to create smarter aircraft through the development of versatile and intuitive autonomous systems. Operating at the intersection of technology and robotic aviation, Aurora leverages the power of autonomy to make manned and unmanned flight safer and more efficient. Headquartered in Manassas, Virginia, Aurora operates production plants in Bridgeport, West Virginia and Columbus, Mississippi, has Research and Development Centers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dayton, Ohio and Mountain View, California, and a European office, Aurora Swiss Aerospace, located in Luzern, Switzerland. To view recent press releases and more about Aurora please visit our website at www.aurora.aero. About OCEARCH:OCEARCH is a recognized world leader in generating critical scientific data related to tracking (telemetry) and biological studies of keystone marine species such as great white and tiger sharks, in conjunction with conservation outreach and education at a measurable global scale. OCEARCH shares real-time migration data through OCEARCH's Global Shark Tracker -- In 2015, OCEARCH open-sourced the data on the Global Shark Tracker to 2.3 million users. Follow the sharks and learn more about their expeditions at www.ocearch.com. Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161108/437283