Drones that are able to detect sharks using artificial intelligence will begin monitoring Australian beaches starting from next month.
The Little Ripper drones have previously patrolled Australian beaches for sharks using the identifying abilities of human operators, who have a 20-30% accuracy rate in spotting sharks from aerial images according to research.
New shark detection software in the drones is set to improve this accuracy rate to 90%.
“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,” said the University of Technology Sydney’s School of Software research associate Dr Nabin Sharma (via Reuters).
The system has been fed aerial footage of sharks to help it distinguish and identify them from other animals, humans and boats, and allow it to tag sharks as well as dolphins, whales and other sea life in real time.
Along with helping to identify sharks, Little Ripper drones are also able to quickly act once a shark has been detected by playing a warning over a megaphone, and deploying a lift raft and emergency beacon if necessary.
Little Ripper is also developing an electronic shark repellent that the drone will be able to release.