With the rate at which technology is advancing, there is virtually nothing that it is not trying to lay its feet into and establish a very good stand on. That’s why it does not actually come as a surprise that these days, we have had some pretty interesting technology at hand that can help spot sharks.
One of the most popular shark-detecting drones in the world being the Australian-made “Little Ripper,” there is no doubt that there would still be a cloud of uncertainty over whether or not these drones can actually spot every shark in a vicinity—and this is where the recent project being carried out by the Duke University comes in. In other words, this research is asking just how good these drones are in shark-spotting.
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Dave Johnston of Duke’s Marine Laboratory
Speaking about the study, Dave Johnston from Duke’s Marine Laboratory said, “This is one of the first studies aimed at understanding how well we’re able to detect sharks and that’s a key component for any kind of operational use.” Speaking further and elaborating the usefulness of the research, Dave added, “For example, if you wanted to fly the drones along a beach to see if there were sharks there, you’d really want to know how likely you were to see sharks with that type of technology.”
Beaufort in North Carolina is the home to Duke’s Marine Lab and that is where the research on how well drones can detect sharks is being carried out. For this experimental procedure, shark decoys in the form of plywood planks are used. These plywood planks are let into the water and the drones are made to fly above the area. Impressively, the drones were able to identify these shark decoys to a level of near perfection, but then, these sharks per se have to be close to the surface of the water to not escape detection.
Johnston remarks, “Our surveys so far are telling us if the sharks are there and they’re less than a meter deep, or a little past a meter deep, then we should be able to detect them even when the water is murky.”
For now, the technology in the drone is limited to spotting only bonnethead sharks, but they’re hoping that in the nearest future, other researchers would be able to expand its scope and reach, making it suitable for detecting each and every kind of shark known to mankind.
As an addition to shark detection, Duke’s Marine Lab is also trying to develop the technology such that it would be able to detect seals, sea turtles, or analyze debris. Scientifically and biologically , this improvement would be significant in the sense that population studies, habitat size, and distribution determination and other related studies would be offered a huge boost.
Overall, the shark-spotting technology would prove to be a great success as it would easily be the choice of surfers who are easy prey for sharks as they do their thing far and out into the deep of the ocean. They can now go about their sport and passion, rest assured that there are no sharks in the area where they would be having their fun.