AI Drones Will Help Specialists Diminish the Number of Shark Attacks

We are all afraid of them even if we never experienced an unpleasant surprise while swimming. Australia authorities indicate that there is no need to worry now since AI drones will help spot sharks swimming near the coastline. Everyone fears the pointy-toothed beasts which are known as the killers of the sea.

However, we need to keep in mind the fact that in Australia a third of all shark attacks occur off Australian coasts. Therefore, back in 2016, the records from the Taronga Conservation Society Australia showed that there were 26 shark attacks and two deaths. Marine researchers argue that they want to work to diminish the chances of an eventual shark attack. Therefore, the University of Technology Sydney developed a new program meant to implement the use of artificial intelligence devices to seek out sharks.

The artificial intelligence drone differentiates sharks from dolphins

The new technology was called SharkSpotter and uses a special algorithm to detect sharks in a live video feed that is recorded in real time. The drone is known as Little Ripper Livesaver which flies above the water, surveilling the beach to protect swimmers and surfers. The device implements the use of a world-first algorithm that involves deep neural networks and artificial intelligence.

SharkSpotter will differentiate between dolphins and sharks and many other marine creatures. The drone features an onboard megaphone to warn swimmers about the potential sharks swimming near them before people spot the threat. The amazing thing about it is that the AI drone can detect the shark even before an eventual shark-human encounter would even become possible.

The device is the product of The Little Ripper Group that collaborated with scientists from the University of Technology Sydney’s School of Software for over the year. The final product is now praised by everyone, being very useful. The UTS Professor, Michael Blumenstein argues that the shark-spotting technology will certainly have a positive impact on the public, making beaches a safer place for swimmers and surfers. The Australian beaches will be a safer place for people to go on a holiday with these amazing devices.

The AI drone will help humans in their efforts to spot sharks

The professor also indicated that they needed to use cutting edge deep neural networks and images process techniques to develop the automated system for identification and detection of sharks. Furthermore, this technology also helped them develop the identification and detection of marine objects and life in general.

Michael Blumenstein explains how the system efficiently identifies and differentiates sharks from other marine species via video feeds processing. In this way, the dynamic and static feeds are analyzed. Then, when sharks appear on the monitor, the megaphone announces swimmers to get to the shore.

These AI drones will start patrols near beaches in New South Wales and Queensland on Australia’s east coast starting this September. In September, the Surf Life Saving patrol season will begin. The artificial intelligence-powered drones will help improve safety. These device will assure tourists and locals that the waters are safe as long they monitor the area.

A shark swimming in the ocean while other sharks are visible in the background

The new device will bring more safety for swimmers, announcing when a shark approaches.

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Researchers claim the device will not replace humans

Dr. Nabin Sharma indicates that the new device will not replace humans altogether. He is a research associate at the University of Technology Sydney’s School of Software. Even if humans’ results were poor, the new system will only assist people and improve their efforts. In this way, the AI technology proves that their work will have a greater accuracy.

To train the newly developed system, specialists use aerial videos from several publicly available sources. Therefore, the algorithms will show the difference. They display a small icon for every object or creature in the sea, like a boat, a surfer or a shark.

According to the International Shark Attack File of the University of Florida, when it comes to the number of unjustified shark encounters with humans in 2016, Australia is right behind the United States.

The device will use the aerial footage to spot the marine creatures when they get near coastlines. In this way, these AI drones will help warn the swimmers to get to the shore. These drones are not the same with military drone sharks. However, up to this point, marine services needed to rely on humans to find sharks swimming in the water.

The shark-spotting technology will start patrolling beaches in September

This might not have been the best idea since from afar we cannot really tell some dolphins apart from sharks. Therefore, the human eye proved to have only a 20-30% success rate when spotting sharks. Also, we need to take into account the fact that sharks tend to dive deep underwater before attacking the prey. This is why it may be hard to get a good read on these marine beasts around the Australian coastline.

The new technology developed by scientists is able to filter things with a far greater success rate. Now, when humans rely on AI drones, they registered a 90% chance of spotting families of sharks. In this way, they managed to cut down on false alarms. They also announced swimmers in the area if the drone spotted sharks swimming close to them.

However, even if the humans won the war with sharks, the last thing they want to do is to destroy the enemy. Unfortunately, the number of sharks is rapidly dropping, reaching a depressing rate. Therefore, besides working on protecting surfers, biologists also try to conserve the species, since they are almost on the verge of extinction.

Summing up

Hopefully, the AI drones will help reduce the number of shark attacks in Australia. The advanced technology proved to be way more useful and accurate than humans trying to spot the sharks by themselves. The beach-protecting technology will certainly have great success when monitoring beaches next month. This amazing device will prevent future shark attacks, protecting tourists and locals. Specialists are very confident, knowing that these drones will help them.

Image Source: National Geographic Kids

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William E. Eubanks

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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