AI-powered drones will yell 'shark' to warn Australia's beach swimmers

Bondi beach

The machine learning system is able to distinguish sharks from other sea creatures such as dolphins or whales. To improve the results, additional software is also deployed to analyze the video feed from the drones to doubly make sure that sharks aren't missed.

Developed by Little Ripper, the new battery-powered UAVs will scan Australian seas to monitor possible signs of sharks and relay live videos to an AI-based system. Instead, they use artificial intelligence software so they can spot sharks by themselves.

But the new technology has the potential to more accurately detect the animals before a potential shark-human encounter even becomes a risk.

The aerial drones are piloted by operators who will look for sharks using detection software. (Australia ranks second behind the United States in unprovoked shark incidents.) But some researchers have questioned the effectiveness of underwater nets, and environmental advocates say they could harm other wildlife.


Drones with shark detection systems have been rolled out in Australia and will start patrolling the country's beaches, Reuters reported.

However, this method is controversial and can be seriously harmful to other marine life. This system will then combine the imagery to identify sharks in real-time. If a shark is detected, the drones will alert swimmers through a megaphone, and could also deploy a life raft and emergency beacon for people in danger.

"It's not about replacing human beings all together, it's about assisting human beings to get the work done in a better way with more accuracy".

That number far outshines the 18-percent accuracy of human spotters in helicopters and the 12-percent accuracy of spotters in fixed-wing aircraft, according to Dr. Nabin Sharma, a research associate at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

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