Underwater drones kill crown-of-thorns starfish to protect Great Barrier Reef

Feeding scars of white coral skeleton [image credit: JSLUCAS75 @ Wikipedia]

‘An individual starfish can consume up to 6 square metres (65 sq ft) of living coral reef per year’ – Wikipedia. Over-population in some areas has damaged the local reef.

Robot drones are set to be tested underwater to protect the Great Barrier Reef from crown-of-thorns starfish, reports BT.com.

The autonomous RangerBot is able to spot the coral-eating starfish with 99.4% accuracy and kill them using a fatal injection.

Researchers at Queensland University of Technology have been working with Google and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation on the technology for around two years, in a bid to monitor a range of issues facing coral reefs including coral bleaching, water quality, pest species and pollution.

“RangerBot is the world’s first underwater robotic system designed specifically for coral reef environments, using only robot-vision for real-time navigation, obstacle avoidance and complex science missions,” said Professor Dunbabin.

“We’ve ‘trained’ RangerBot to detect crown-of-thorns starfish – and only these coral-destroying starfish – in much the same way as people learn to differentiate between various forms of sea life.”

The drone is not only autonomous, but can also stay underwater almost three times longer than a human diver, as well as operating at any time of day and under any conditions.

Continued here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

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August 31, 2018 at 01:09PM

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