Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in Australia have developed SharkSpotter, a deep learning algorithm that can use real-time video footage streamed from aerial drones to detect sharks and alert swimmers.
The researchers used known shark migration patterns, recorded sightings, and first-hand drone footage filmed over popular beaches to train the SharkSpotter system to detect sharks.
They will deploy SharkSpotter drones across some of Australia's most popular beaches in September with the goal of developing a system that can save the lives and limbs of Australian beachgoers.
The researchers say the algorithm is about 90% accurate in its ability to distinguish sharks from other marine life, marking a significant improvement over the human eye looking down from planes and helicopters.
The drone system enables "a rapid response that can be done with less people," and could potentially save tens of thousands of dollars for governments and communities, says UTS professor Michael Blumenstein.
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