'Shark drones' to protect Australia beaches

A shark detection artificial intelligence system will be used by drones in Australia this summer to detect sharks and ensure greater protection for beach users.

The drones will provide a live feed to an operator who then uses the software to identify sharks in real time with more efficiency.

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According to Reuters, studies have shown that the human eye has a 20 to 30 per cent accuracy rate when interpreting data for aerial images to detect shark activity.

Detection software like this can increase the success rate to 90 per cent, said Dr Nabin Sharma, a research associate at the University of Technology Sydney's School of Software.

He explained: "It's not about replacing human beings all together, it's about assisting human beings to get the work done in a better way with more accuracy. That's what the application is meant for."

The AI software's algorithms have been trained to differentiate sharks from other marine creatures, surfers and boats, and can then tag sharks in real time.

The software has been developed by the university with the Little Ripper Group. The Little Ripper drones with the shark-spotting equipment will be able to warn swimmer through megaphone when a shark is detected. They'll start being used at a number of beaches across Australia from September.

Nets have currently been deployed to prevent sharks from coming too close to swimmers.

However, this method is controversial and can be seriously harmful to other marine life.

According to Engadget, it's hoped the use of the drones could potentially be an eco-friendly alternative if proved successful.