A WA company is developing a first in intelligent shark detection by creating a drone to capture live video footage of sharks.
The drone is being developed to use real time detection software to warn beach goers if target shark species are detected.
The company behind the technology Astron Environmental Services partnered with Airbotix to build and design the aerial hardware.
Astron technical director Julian Kruger said the drone would extend current methods of visual detection such as beach spotters and helicopter patrols.
“We are adopting a lower impact and lower cost platform to achieve a higher degree of surveillance for any particular site,” he said.
“We are also using smart optics and computer vision technology to considerably enhance the rate of detection which means human error can be avoided.”
A surfer and environmentalist Mr Kruger said he understood the importance of having shark mitigation strategies which don’t cull sharks.
He said research showed shark numbers were increasing and it was essential to patrol beaches in a way which ensures peoples safety at no cost to the environment.
“If we can provide ocean users with an effective early warning system as a means of mitigation against shark attacks in a non-invasive and non-lethal manner, then we see this as a win for both people and sharks,” he said.
Leading the software development for the project is Astron scientist Dr Mehdi Ravanbakhsh whose research includes the use of underwater stereo video technology for measurement and automation of fish.
He said they had trialled a number of machine learning and computer vision approaches to detect shark anomalies and moving objects in the ocean.
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