How We Teamed Up

SnotBot is a highly collaborative program. In our quest to make the most effective tool, we have worked with specialist groups across the world that have contributed their expertise towards the program and have made SnotBot what it is. None of the successes we have had with the program would have been possible without the help of a large number of partners: scientific partners, communication partners, local partners and partners in industry.

In fact, this is the most collaborative program we have ever had, and we believe this is the primary reason the program has been a success. To that end, we believe that this model: of a highly collaborative program taking advantage of different groups areas of expertise, should be more common in science and conservation programs globally. Such collaborative projects constitute a win-win-win scenario, whereby both organisations benefit and, most importantly, so do the oceans.

The program started in 2013 when we began building our own drones alongside Olin College of Engineering. The next summer, we conducted the first field tests of these drones alongside Olin and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, with whom we were conducting a major research program (Operation Toxic Gulf) in the Gulf of Mexico. We then worked with Sir Patrick Stewart and marketing group Flying Car to promote and fundraise the first three SnotBot expeditions. Since the first expedition, Parley for the Oceans have been our primary SnotBot partners and the program has been ran in conjunction with them.

The first expedition, to Patagonia, was carried out with drones from manufacturer Yuneec, and was ran in conjunction with our local Argentinian partners Instituto de Conservacion de Ballenas, as well as Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

During the second expedition to Baja California we were joined by photographer/cameraman Christian Miller of BioPixel for the first time: Christian is now a core part of the SnotBot team. This expedition was ran alongside the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California (who have also joined us for each following expedition to Mexico) and was supported by DJI and Sound Off Films.

The third expedition was to Alaska, where we worked with the Alaska Whale Foundation and Alaska Aerial Media. During this expedition we also begun working with Oregon State University who have become one of our primary analysis partners: specifically looking at DNA/genetics in our samples.

During the fourth expedition we went back to Baja California. Here, we worked with the Parque Loreto and the Great Whale Conservancy, whilst our work was filmed by production company Nutopia for a National Geographic documentary. During this expedition we also began working with the University of Alaska: Fairbanks, who have become one of our primary analysis partners, specifically looking at hormones in our samples.

During our fifth and sixth expeditions, both to South East Alaska, we begun working with hardware giant Intel, and once again worked in partnership with Alaska Whale Foundation. We were also joined by multiple production companies including Plimsoll Productions (filming for National Geographic), and Farm League.

The seventh expedition, again back to Baja California, saw us partner with FLIR Systems and VICE news.
Of course there have been many other partners whom haven’t been mentioned here, and with whom none of this work could have been carried out.