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Queensland University of Technology develops underwater drones for monitoring the Great Barrier Reef



Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researchers have developed Business Insider, an underwater drone designed to monitor the health of the Great Barrier Reef and detect and kill crowns of thorns to protect the environment ]. Partially funded by the Google Impact Challenge, QUT's unmanned mission to improve the health of the Great Barrier Reef has been deemed sufficient for the tech giant to support it with $ 750,000.

Google's initiative to help nonprofit organizations work on technologies that seek to improve the world around us and find workable solutions has been widely developed by the university's so-called RangerBot.

The incentive to build an underwater robot specifically to locate and kill crowns of thorns starfish. One of the world's seven wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef, is threatened by a recent burst of starfish and scientists are seeking a solution. Coral cover fell by 50 percent between 1

985 and 2012, with nearly half of that decline attributable to coral-destroying starfish, a study by the Australian Institute of Marine Science suggests.

By partnering with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the university has been able to refine its 2016 COTSbot (Crown of Thorns and Starfish Bot) to create a smaller and less expensive version that was more agile in the water. The resulting RangerBot has some extraordinary advantages over its predecessor, not to mention every human alternative.

"RangerBot will be designed to stay underwater almost three times as long as a human diver collects more data, maps vast underwater areas to unprecedented levels, and works in any conditions, at any time of the day or night." said QUT. "Unlike today's single-purpose naval brokers, which are manual, expensive and based on acoustic technologies, the RangerBot will be built with innovative, vision-based technologies."

In particular, the drone does not rely on sound to navigate and have a high-tech system that makes it possible to see clearly underwater. It is operated via tablet, with a supposedly easy learning curve of about 15 minutes to master. For QUT Professor Matthew Dunbabin, who worked on the vehicle for almost two years, the time has come for active implementation.

"We've trained RangerBoat to discover Thorny Crowned Starfish – and just destroying these coral starfish – much like humans learn to differentiate between different forms of marine life," he said. "Using real-time computer vision, which is processed aboard the robot, RangerBot can identify these deadly starfish with an accuracy of 99.4 percent. Once the identification is confirmed, RangerBot can initiate an injection that is fatal to the Crown of Thorns starfish but nothing else affects the reef. "

Let's take a look at the RangerBot in action, courtesy of QUT.


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