AI-powered drones to patrol Aussie beaches for sharks

A sign erected on Manly Beach in Sydney indicates a shark sighting. Source: Reuters

BEACH-GOERS in Australia can soon expect to see drones whizzing past the coast while they lay on the beach.

Artificial intelligence-powered drones that are equipped to detect sharks will start patrolling some of Australia’s beaches in a bid to improve safety, Reuters reported.

The drones will provide a live video feed to an operator who will then use a software to identify sharks in real time. The technology is proven to be more accurate than the human eye.

Dr Nabin Sharma, a research associate at the University of Technology Sydney’s School of Software, told Reuters the detection software can boost accuracy by up to 90 percent compared with human detection.

“It’s not about replacing human beings altogether, it’s about assisting human beings to get the work done in a better way with more accuracy. That’s what the application is meant for,” Sharma said.

These aerial videos of sharks are used to train the software’s algorithm to distinguish sharks from other marine creatures, boats, surfers and swimmers.

Australia ranked behind only the United Ststes in the number of unprovoked shark encounters with humans last year, the International Shark Attack File of the University of Florida shows.

SEE ALSO: Could Australia’s spate of shark attacks affect its tourism?

A series of shark attacks off Australia’s northeast coast has given the tourism industry the shudders, prompting a controversial deployment of protective nets to save lives and guard the country’s reputation as a holiday destination.

Additional reporting by Reuters