Robot goes on reef patrol

DIVING NEWS

Robot goes on reef patrol

RangerBot
Picture: QUT.

An underwater drone that can identify and kill coral-devastating crown-of-thorns (COT) starfish using a lethal injection is about to undergo final testing on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef prior to going into production.

RangerBot, which uses a hi-tec vision system that allows it to “see” under water, is operated using a smart tablet.

It has been developed by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in collaboration with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and Google – the concept won the Google Impact Challenge People’s Choice prize of Aus $750,000 in 2016, enabling QUT roboticists Professor Matthew Dunbabin and Dr Feras Dayoub to spend the next two years developing and refining the technology.

4 September 2018

Their original “COTSbot” prototype was tethered, but RangerBot operates autonomously and has multiple functions.

Prof Dunbabin described the 15kg, 75cm-long device as “the world’s first underwater robotic system designed specifically for coral-reef environments, using only robot-vision for real-time navigation, obstacle avoidance and complex science missions.”

“This multifunction ocean drone can monitor a wide range of issues facing coral reefs, including coral-bleaching, water-quality, pest species, pollution and siltation,” he said. “It can help to map expansive underwater areas at scales not previously possible, making it a valuable tool for reef research and management.

“RangerBot can stay under water almost three times longer than a human diver, gather more data, and operate in all conditions and at all times of the day or night, including where it may not be safe for a human diver.”

Prof Dunbabin said that the robot could distinguish CoTs (Acanthaster planci) from other starfish with a 99.4% accuracy rate, and that the lethal injection would not affect anything else on the reef.

RangerBot would also be inexpensive, he said, allowing production to be scaled up rapidly to meet demand from reef managers, researchers and communities worldwide.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science recently took part in RangerBot trials on the GBR and is investigating new technology to boost its data-collection and underwater-observation capabilities.

“RangerBot has the potential to revolutionise the way we manage our oceans, and is an important tool to have at our disposal in the quest to save our coral reefs,” said Anna Marsden, MD of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

biggest

LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH!

Get a weekly roundup of all Divernet news and articles 🤿

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Divernet Posts

Diver Magazine Relaunch

Diver magazine needs YOU!

Are you still lamenting the demise of Diver magazine? Well now you can help resurrect an icon as we seek to bring back the magazine

Maine

Went for a dive and saw one fish

Editor-in-Chief of the Underwater Photography Guide NIRUPAM NIGAM went for a dive in the Gulf of Maine, a body of water historically known as “the

The Alex Van Opstal

WRECK TOUR 152 – The Alex Van Opstal

An old Weymouth favourite, the 5965-ton Belgian motor ship Alex Van Opstal, an early casualty of World War Two. It was sunk by a mine on 15 September, 1939, just 15 days after the German invasion of Poland.

Buford Springs Cave topside view

2 divers die at Florida cave site

Two men have died while scuba diving at western Florida cave-diving location Buford Springs Cave.  Three teenage swimmers found 63-year-old Stephen Roderick Gambrell unresponsive at

Sponges fragments

Sponges: Glue of the reef

A variety of environmental threats hang over scuba attraction the Florida Keys, but a team of dedicated divers are doing their bit to shift the

nets and diver

Spanish divers battle illegal nets

Scuba divers from Spanish marine conservation group Equilibrio Marino have removed a 600m fishing net from the Mediterranean Sea off Malaga city beach. In the

Follow Divernet on Social Media

0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x