Lifeguards will be alerted via social media when a shark gets too close under a non-lethal plan to protect Australian beaches from ocean predators.
Optus is backing technologists from Shark Mitigation Systems to build a smart buoys which use sonar to detect shark-sized objects in coastal areas.
When a detection is made, the buoy will relay a signal via the Optus Network to lifeguards on the beach.
Nathan Rosenberg, Head of Brand and Communications, Optus said the Clever Buoy could change beach safety forever as we learn more about shark behaviour through a truly digital method of detection.
“One day hopefully be everywhere for lifeguards as they take care of Australians while enjoying a day at the beach,” he said.
The first stage of the project is to trial the feasibility of the system. When detection is made by the Clever Buoy, Google Plus will be used to alert relevant audiences via the Optus Network.
If successful, the aim is for the Clever Buoys to be available for commercial purchase by mid-2015.
The Clever Buoy’s equipment utilises intuitive technology which can be programmed to learn the details of what it’s designed to detect.
It differentiates between the length of an object and its propulsion through the water using sonar signatures in much the same way as facial recognition technology does.
It has successfully identified sharks during testing phases at Sydney Aquarium and in the ocean around the Abrolhos Islands off the west coast of Australia.
Hamish Jolly, Director of Shark Mitigation Systems said very little is known about shark behaviour and we are continually striving to learn more.
“The reality is, there currently isn’t one perfect shark detection system,” he said.
“We wanted to develop a non-invasive shark-detection solution to improve our capacity to detect sharks off beaches which could be a big step in improving beach safety.”
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