Drones v sharks

AUSTRALIA’S waters are some of the most dangerous in the world. Ignoring the dangers posed by jellyfish and salt-water crocodiles, the average annual number of “unprovoked” shark attacks more than doubled between 1990-2000 and 2005-2015, to 15. One company in Western Australia has a futuristic solution.

In December Shark Alert International will try equipping a helicopter and a drone with military-grade cameras that can “x-ray” the water, then send alerts to lifeguards and even surfers’ watches. The technology was originally designed to help America detect a different foe: Russian submarines.

It sees deep into the water by taking images at several different frequencies every second. In tests in California, the company said that it could spot dummy sharks 15 feet (4.6 metres) beneath the surface with total accuracy. But the cameras might work at twice that depth in Perth’s sandy seas.

Helicopters and low-flying planes have long patrolled popular beaches.

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Mike Rawson

Mike Rawson has recently re-awoken a long-standing interest in robots and our automated future. He lives in London with a single android - a temperamental vacuum cleaner - but is looking forward to getting more cyborgs soon.

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Drones v sharks

by Mike Rawson time to read: 1 min
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