Shark Detection with Drones for Human Safety and Environmental Protection

Published on
02 December 2021

SharkSpotter: Shark Detection with Drones for Human Safety and Environmental Protection

Nabin Sharma, Muhammed Saqib, Paul Scully-Power, Michael Blumenstein


Unprovoked shark attacks are one of the major types of risks that threaten human’s lives in coast regions especially in tourist areas. Australia ranks behind only the USA in the number of unprovoked shark encounters with humans according to the International Shark Attack File of the University of Florida . The shark attacks not only threaten human’s lives and disrupt recreational beach activities, but also can affect associated tourist industries. Shark nets are a common solution in preventing shark attacks in many countries such as on Australian beaches, but they pose serious dangers to marine ecosystems. Artificial intelligence (AI) can assist to protect humans from shark attacks without the use of shark nets. We have developed a system called SharkSpotter. It combines AI, computing power and drone technology to identify and alert lifesavers to sharks near humans in the water. The SharkSpotter system receives streaming imagery from the drone camera and attempts to identify all objects in the scene. Once valid objects are detected, they are put into one of 16 categories: shark, whale, dolphin, rays, different types of boats, surfers and swimmers. If a shark is detected, the SharkSpotter provides both a visual indication on the computer screen and an audible alert to the operator. The operator verifies the alert and sends text messages from the SharkSpotter system to the Surf Life Savers for further action. The success of SharkSpotter demonstrates that AI can assist humans to not only monitor safety issues effectively and more accurately with a cost-effective way, but also benefit the marine environment protection for more friendly marine ecosystems. It shows that AI is not replacing humans, but working with humans together as a partnership to get the work done in a better way. Such partnership provides an applicable solution for the balance between the human safety and the environment protection, which ultimately benefits the harmonious relationships between humans and our Earth including the marine ecosystems.

Humanity Driven AI. Springer, Cham. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-72188-6_11


Leave a Reply