CU Boulder students crafting drone for studying whales

Student researchers at the University of Colorado are planning to add the study of sperm whale communication patterns to the fast-growing list of tasks that can be aided by drone technology.

And they — the students, not the whales — could use the public’s help.

CU’s 12-member Search and Help Aquatic Mammals UAS aerospace engineering student team — the acronym, appropriately, is SHAMU — is trying to raise funds for a project aimed at facilitating scientific research on sperm whale communication patterns.

Partnering with the Cetacean Echolocation Translation Initiative, SHAMU’s goal is to design, build and operate an unmanned aerial system, or drone, that would be used to find pods of whales in the open ocean.

“The most exciting thing to me is, it’s a real application of what I have been learning over the last four years,” said project manager Severyn Polakiewicz.

“And it’s applied to

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