• Chris Jones

Shark tracking with drones

Another amazing use for cutting edge UAV technology

Australian company Onboard Smarts, part of Swarm UAV, is developing image recognition software to identify sharks from overhead and prevent attacks.

“As the drone flies by the Australian coast, the software will process the images and in real-time find the sharks,” software engineer Cristina Zappullo says.

“This is done by recognising swim patterns and movements. A dolphin’s tail moves up and down, whereas a shark moves from left to right.

“Once it finds (a shark), position and images of it will be sent to people on land.”

She says the benefits of using drones are that the shark is not bothered, as with culling or nets, and drones have more accurate vision from greater distances than people.

Zappullo, who has a background in biomedical engineering, believes this is the first instance of using a shark-detecting algorithm in this way.

She says the combination of recognition software and drones can also be used in other safety applications such as fires and missing person searches.

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