Australia to launch beach-protecting, AI-powered shark drones – CNET


Shark spotting is going high-tech with AI-powered drones.

Peter Parks/Getty Images

Australia is famous for a few things: sunshine, excellent beaches and a huge array of deadly animals that will bite/poison/sting you at a moment’s notice.

With that in mind, a group of researchers have created a new shark-detecting drone capable of finding the apex predators underwater, quicker than the human eye and with a higher level of accuracy.

The Little Ripper drone’s SharkSpotter technology uses deep learning to detect sharks below the waves.

Little Ripper

The technology, known as SharkSpotter, uses an algorithm to detect sharks in a live video feed recorded in real time by a drone (known as the Little Ripper Livesaver) flying above the water. Using a world-first algorithm, developed using artificial intelligence and deep neural networks, SharkSpotter is able to distinguish sharks from dolphins, rays and other marine animals, and even surfers. Thanks to an onboard megaphone, the drone can also warn swimmers about what’s lurking in the water before they’ve even seen the threat.

Australia saw a total of 26 shark attacks in 2016, including two fatalities, according to statistics from Taronga Conservation Society Australia. But while that number is arguably low (particularly compared to the number of swimmers that hit Australia’s beaches every summer) the spectre of shark attacks looms large over the Australian consciousness.