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Heat-Seeking Drones Find Brisbane's Hiding Koalas

The heat signature of a koala, captured by a heat-sensing camera mounted on a drone.

Researchers in Australia are using drones with heat-seeking sensors to tally the koala population.

Credit: Grant Hamilton

Researchers at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia and the Brisbane City Council are using drones with heat-seeking sensors to tally Brisbane's koala population in spite of concealing foliage.

The research team thinks this could be a more cost-effective method of identifying and mapping koalas and other endangered species than hiking through bushland.

QUT's Grant Hamilton and colleagues have developed a way of using computer algorithms to interpret data from the heat-seeking sensors. He says, "We feed that thermal imagery into an artificial intelligence algorithm and we use those algorithms to automatically determine the kind of organisms are using that system."

Hamilton also says the system is returning information with 100% accuracy in certain environments.

From Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
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