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Remote-controlled car

Michael is trying to push the envelope not only in the air, but also on the ground. So we have modified a small, off-the-shelf remote-controlled car—a kind of dune buggy that you can purchase in a hobby shop. But we’ve equipped it with a video camera, still camera, infrared lights, all sorts of things to try to shoot lions from their perspective. When Michael returns to Africa in January, we’re building him something more robust that’s going to handle the terrain and the tall grass much better. It’s going to be a heavier unit, more in the 40-pound range, and it will have tank tracks on it, rather than four wheels. It’s a solid metal platform with all the electronics protected inside, and the camera mounted on top. So if a big, cranky male lion decides it’s going to eat it, maybe, just maybe, the vehicle will survive the attack.

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Photo: lioness investigating the remote-controlled car camera
A lioness gets to know a new creature on the savanna.
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