Featured Image Credit: Little Ripper Lifesaver via Facebook
Surfing and swimming in the ocean is one step closer to being a little bit safer. Thanks to new technology that can warn about sharks in the area, before they’re visible as a shark-shaped spot in the water to a human, and especially before those dorsal fins hit the surface.
That’s right, folks! Drones are at it again.
This time, the Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver drone is gearing up to become a lifesaver itself, due to technology that can check out the water and identify sharks in real time, even distinguishing them from other marine life that might be swimming around.
“It tries to detect as many objects as possible and then it classifies if it’s a shark or a non-shark or whatever,” Dr Nabin Sharma from the University of Technology told 9NEWS.
Then, once it recognizes the shape of a shark swimming around beneath the surface, it also has the capabilities to warn those in the water of the shark via a built-in megaphone.
The drone is said to have about a 90 percent success rate, which passes the competition of aerial and helicopter patrols with less than 20 percent accuracies.
This technology, called “Sharkspotter”, was created first with “state-of-the-art deep learning algorithms”, as well as image processing techniques. The team behind Little Ripper then credits the high accuracy through detecting different marine objects, so that the algorithm really could learn.
While there were only around 81 unprovoked attacks in 2016, the chances for shark attacks are pretty low, but there’s nothing wrong with a little caution while you’re enjoying a day at the beach.
The battery-powered drones were sent out to test their abilities in early 2017, on the east coast of Australia, and are predicted to be sent to patrol main beaches next summer, and if Little Ripper’s COO Ben Trollope’s hopes become reality, they may one day patrol beaches worldwide.