Brazilian Authorities are now deploying locally developed unmanned aircraft to monitor the country’s vast forest for illegal logging, drug trafficking and other crimes.
The São Paulo Environmental Police will be the country’s first agency to regularly employ UAS to monitor remote areas for deforestation, illegal fishing, and sand mining.
AGX Tecnologia using technology developed at the University of São Paulo, has developed the Arara (Parrot) and Tiriba (Little Parrot – featured in the above video).
The Arara uses a simple truck launch process, whereas the Tiriba is hand-launched.
Brazil’s law enforcement agencies are already using UAS to monitor drug trafficking and other crimes, and the county recently purchased 14 Israeli-made Heron drones for $350 million.
But the threats in the Brazilian Amazon, if different, are no less real. As much as 60,000 square miles of forest–an area larger than Greece, have been cleared between 2000 and 2006. Today, a combination of the economic crisis, lowering prices for deforestation-linked commodities such as cattle and soybeans, and one of the world’s best satellite forest monitoring and response systems, has dropped that figure to just 600 square miles in 2010, reports the Brazilian environment agency Ibama.