CrocSpotter app uses AI tech to identify hidden crocodile

CrocSpotter app uses AI tech to identify hidden crocodiles

A world-first artificial intelligence program designed by Aussie scientists is helping to protect swimmers from crocodile attacks at Queensland’s most dangerous beaches.

Nic Darveniza

Courier Mail

September 27, 2019

A world-first artificial intelligence program designed by Aussie scientists is helping to protect swimmers from crocodile attacks at Queensland’s most dangerous beaches.

The revolutionary ‘CrocSpotter’ app is a cloud-based data analytics software that monitors and processes video footage to locate threats potentially invisible to the human eye.

The machine learning algorithm at the heart of the technology has studied more than 7,000 images of crocodiles to learn how they behave, move, swim and hide.

CrocSpotter uses its hi-tech AI to scan for hidden clues that a crocodile may be lurking and brings it to the attention of a drone pilot in a single second for further investigation.

CrocSpotter’s creators say their technology operates at 93 per cent success rate in identifying crocodiles, better than the human eye, which was successful fewer than 20 per cent of the time.

“This is world-leading research,” University of Technology Sydney Professor Michael Blumenstein said.

“There is nothing else like it. (CrocSpotter) has been customised for this research problem which is being translated into saving lives.”

The technology’s potential application to surf lifesaving is clear to Queensland officials battling to keep swimmers safe from crocodile attack.

“We know we have crocodile issues in north Queensland,” Surf Lifesaving Queensland Lifesaving Operations Coordinator Jason Argent said.

“This AI technology will assist drone pilots on the ground detecting and making sure they’re aware of what’s out there.

“Come summer we hope to have all drones in North Queensland running this AI seamlessly, allowing pilots to have better confidence in what they’re seeing in the water.”

Early trials will begin in Port Douglas at Four Mile Beach and Cairns’ Palm Cove.

Mr Argent said if trials were successful the CrocSpotter app would be rolled out through Townsville and Mackay by December.

Professor Blumenstein says the technology could be used worldwide but particularly in India and the United States, who face similar issues with crocodiles and alligator attacks.

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