Drones and artificial intelligence image processing improving the ‘koality’ of wildlife monitoring

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Featured image credit: Liz Lawley via Creative Commons license Artificial Intelligence, Conservation, Conservation Drones, Drones, Research, Technology, Thermal Imagery, Wildtech Article published by Sue Palminteri Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) paired with artificial intelligence image processing can provide data that helps researchers evaluate the health and conservation status of Australia’s koala population.Programming UAVs with a complex hierarchy of algorithms, designed to identify and differentiate between individual animals in the wild, allows researchers to automatically classify data while conducting aerial surveys.Researchers continue to advance the program’s algorithms to make this monitoring method more accurate, powerful, and widely applicable. In recent years, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have increasingly been used to monitor wildlife populations from above, but artificial intelligence has taken drone technology one step further.Koala populations are declining across their range in Australia due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) are conducting aerial surveys using UAVs, or drones, to monitor vulnerable koala populations across different terrains. Programming sensors (standard and thermal video cameras) carried by the UAVs with a complex hierarchy of algorithms, designed to identify and differentiate between individual animals in the wild by adjusting for variables such as color, shape, and size, allows the researchers to automatically classify the data collected during the aerial surveys. The image processing capacity of these drones automates the process of identifying animals through visual and thermal imagery and artificial intelligence data processing.UAVs and artificial intelligence data processing can help to assess the health and conservation status of vulnerable koala populations Photo credit: Marc Dalmulder via Creative Commons licenseAccording to Dr. Felipe Gonzalez, who leads the project, “A key element of our research is that the data processing has automatic detection so that you don’t have to go through the imagery. [The system] also has the ability to geolocate where the wildlife was detected at that point in time. The UAVs have a GPS, so each frame captured by the camera is stamped with GPS [information].”The QUT researchers compare aerial counts to ‘ground truth’ counts conducted by rangers on foot within the same area to test the accuracy of the system’s capacity to recognize patterns from the thermal sensor. Within the testing stage, these trials must be administered in areas that are accessible to people on foot, but once algorithms have been fine-tuned and are ready to be applied in the field for wildlife monitoring, they will allow researchers to fly UAVs over tracts with dense vegetation that are difficult to access.The QUT team must account for a host of different variables in developing the program’s algorithms.“One of the difficult variables that will affect the capacity of the algorithms to work is the camera that we use,” explains Gonzalez. “Another is the field of view.”Adapting to varying light conditions in the field, depending on location and time of day, is yet another challenge in using thermal cameras, as it “affects the temperature of the environmental conditions”.“What we saw was that there’s a time in the morning when it’s really difficult to see or make sense of the data,” says Gonzalez. “There’s a lot of false positives [mistaking warmed-up vegetation for animals], so the ability to detect the wildlife is harder. Ideally, we would like to fly at night or really early in the morning, so we did the surveys … at first light — seven or eight or nine minutes before sunrise.” Flying UAVs when the trees and vegetation are still cool makes the warm-bodied koalas more easily detectable by the thermal cameras.The researchers are also testing the capacity of combining UAVs and artificial intelligence data processing for monitoring dingo populations, which come into conflict with people in some areas.A lone dingo on Australia’s Fraser Island Photo Credit: Glen Fergus via Creative Commons licenseAs Gonzalez describes, “We wanted to have the ability to fly early in the morning and then [have] someone walking through the bush before us or after us to count the koala population to validate the results. With the dingoes, it’s a little bit more challenging, because they’re [more] mobile… I guess the next step for us is getting the approvals and getting the access to fly at night… It would be really, really challenging for the algorithm to work at eight, nine o’clock in the morning, a couple of hours after sunlight. Because of that, you don’t have the ability to survey large areas, [since] your time window is limited.”Gonzalez notes that the use of the technology is a process in evolution, which researchers must adapt not only to be more efficient, but also to meet ethical standards. “For instance, without special approval, the aircraft cannot be flown ‘beyond line-of-sight”, which can be especially difficult in areas with tall trees and dense vegetation. In such cases, researchers must fly the UAVs at high altitudes in order to maintain line-of-sight at all times, which weakens the drone’s ability to differentiate between animals.The QUT team has developed standard operating procedures to reduce potential adverse impacts on wildlife. The thermal camera sends the UAV operator team an automatic video transmission to assess whether an animal being monitored is in distress so the team can immediately recover the aircraft if distress is evident. Another adaptation is to use more efficient technology that reduces noise, such as UAV models with quieter propellers. Researchers can also manipulate the take-off methods of the UAVs, taking off slowly and at a safe distance from wildlife, so that they do not startle an animal.This same monitoring technology can be used to monitor feral animals. As feral dogs and cats kill native Australian birds and small mammals, including koalas, and non-native goats “affect farming and destroy some of the natural vegetation”, Gonzalez emphasizes the importance of assessing distribution of feral animals, as well.Road and railway development can pose a risk to koala populations by contributing to habitat fragmentation and exposing koalas to open areas Photo credit: Aaron Jacobs via Creative Commons licenseGonzalez added that the construction of new roads and railways through the bush clears and damages koala habitats and creates open areas through which koalas become exposed to predators. Instead of the koalas moving along tree canopies, they must cross open corridors, which feral dogs have learned to use to find and attack them.UAVs paired with artificial intelligence image processing can provide distribution data that helps researchers evaluate the health of Australia’s koala population and assists in efforts to relocate vulnerable populations to areas where they will be less threatened by human activity.Gonzalez wants the algorithms to remain open-source, for use by researchers and conservationists worldwide for wildlife monitoring. Continual improvements to UAV imaging technology and the image processing algorithms will permit researchers and wildlife managers to detect individual animals across larger areas in ways that are faster and less invasive.last_img read more