Technology designers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have combined drone technology with artificial intelligence to protect beachgoers from sharks. The drones fly above popular swimming and surfing locations off the coast of Australia and spy on the animals in the water. By using artificial intelligence and image recognition software, lifeguards can see when a dangerous shark is nearby.
Shark-spotting drones are patrolling dozens of Australian beaches to quickly identify underwater predators and deliver safety devices to swimmers and surfers faster than traditional lifesavers.
The software can recognize with more than 90% accuracy, compared to about 16% with the naked eye. “We can identify 16 different objects, like sharks, whales, dolphins, surfers, different kinds of boats and many other objects of interest,” software designer Nabin Sharma from the UTS said.
The drone is a welcomed intervention that can alert swimmers and surfers in real time, and drop safety devices to those in distress. This application of drone technology is helping lifeguards keep those in the water out of harm’s way.