This post was written by guest blogger Jackie Dujmovic, CEO of Hover, UAV, a drone systems management business that is fundamental to some of the largest civil drone programs in the world. Her unwavering passion for marine conservation got Hover UAV involved with the NSW state government for trial that alerted swimmers & surfers to the presence of sharks.
To hear more from Jackie, please join us November 7th at Rise of Women Technopreneurs: Using Drones and AI For Common Good. – Women Rock IT -APJ series. Register here.
I started Hover UAV after a friend lost his life when he fell overboard from a vessel in the freezing waters of Alaska. After his death, I wondered if a drone could have saved him. The technology exists to drop an immersion suit or flotation device to him to allow crucial extra minutes for a rescue, but one was not available.
I purchased my first drone and set about devising ideas and strategies to best utilize the technology. The attraction was never flying the drone itself but the potential applications from the data collected and the potential to drop lifesaving items to people in need. I made a snap decision that this was my new career path and pursued and achieved my commercial drone license while also setting up Hover UAV. With a wealth of experience in the marine sector and an unwavering passion for marine conservation, Hover UAV re-positioned as experts in this field which led to involvement with the NSW state government shark drone surveillance program.
These trials were a great success because the public was kept safe from hazardous sharks and the drone technology was an environmentally friendly alternative to ecologically damaging shark mitigation methods. It was a great outcome for Hover UAV which saw firsthand the benefits to public safety and to improving the marine ecology. It goes without saying that this has led to Hover UAV being involved in other marine conservation projects. One such project is a collaboration between Hover UAV and non-for-profit Humpbacks and High Rises where drones are used to collect whale exhale condensate or snot from migrating Humpback whales as well as determine their size and behaviors.
Exhale condensate can be collected via a drone fitted with a series of six to eight petri dishes. The dishes are then sent to the laboratory to check aspects of the whale’s health including viruses, hormone levels and DNA. This gives researchers an unprecedented window into the health of our Humpback whale population as it conducts its annual migration up and down the humpback highway of eastern Australia.
We realized there was an opportunity for innovation during the drone shark surveillance trials: a real time alarm that could be sounded from the drone to alert water users to the presence of a hazardous shark. Without such a device, it is difficult to get the attention of water users from the beach, so the need was real. Therefore, we set about designing an alarm that could be attached to the drone alerting surrounding water users to the presence of a hazard. This device immediately went into state government trials and today is considered standard equipment for beach surveillance as well as bat removal. Farmers even use it to scare off birds and protect their crops.
This innovation has led to Hover UAV partnering with other businesses to improve the way drones can be used for such things as delivering flotation devices to water users in need. These sorts of collaborations and aligning Hover UAV with like-minded companies has been pivotal and hearkens back to the point that it is impossible to be an expert in every facet that this technology can offer. This allows Hover UAV to always stay one step ahead.Today Hover UAV employs 18 full time staff and is engaged with many different industries ranging from supply chain and logistics, environmental compliance and regulatory compliance.
I have four key rules that I carry with me everywhere I go, and these have been the cornerstone of my success. The first is to do what you love. If you love what you are doing, then it is not considered “just” work. If you are passionate and enjoy what you do it will be reflected in your work ethic and the results achieved.
The second is to make an impact. Don’t do things for the sake of doing them or simply for financial reward. If you can make a positive impact by your actions either by helping others or improving practices it forms a sense of purpose in everything you do.
Third, take chances. If you don’t thoroughly explore all opportunities wholeheartedly without hesitation you will always be thinking about that one opportunity that got away. Grab it with both hands and run.
The fourth is to never give up. The second you give up means it is time to stop what you are doing. Life throws everyone challenges, it is how you stand up and deal with adversity that shows true character. When I first entered the drone industry, I was concerned by the degree to which women were under represented. But I realized that just because it involves technology does not mean that anybody else is better than myself or that I can’t do it. If you want to do something you go do it and do not listen to anybody until you have achieved your desired outcomes.