A world-first system developed by UTS is being used by Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver to identify sharks, raise alarms and provide greater protection for swimmers and surfers.
In 2016 there were 26 recorded shark attacks in Australia, including two fatalities, leading to much public discussion about ways to improve safety for water recreation while preserving marine ecosystems. Now artificial intelligence technology is being used by Australian drone company Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver to improve detection and identification of sharks.
Little Ripper drones are battery powered ‘unmanned helicopters’ with autopilot capabilities, and are loaded with the UTS software system for aerial surveillance. The system does real time analysis of overhead footage and information can be relayed immediately to emergency services, beach lifeguards, and water users for appropriate decision-making.
Professor Michael Blumenstein, Head of the School of Software in the Faculty of Engineering and IT said:
“The system will give an overhead warning to swimmers/surfers when a shark or a potential risk is detected, using an on-board megaphone attached to the drones. This cutting-edge AI system developed by UTS will create a positive impact for the public, making beach recreation much safer.”
Little Ripper drones will patrol many main beaches in Australia from summer 2017/18 onward.

For more info visit: UTS: Sharkspotter

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