Artificial Intelligence Tracks NSB Sea Turtles!

We currently use artificial intelligence (AI) throughout many industries including healthcare, education and security, but now it is being used to help protect our local sea turtle population! 

This is incredible news because not only are sea turtles vulnerable to a variety of predators, their primary nesting grounds are more at risk now that the sea wall in New Smyrna Beach and Daytona Beach suffered so much damage.

So here’s how all this nifty new AI stuff washes out. Aviation leader Northrop Grumman has teamed up with Embry-Riddle University and the Brevard Zoo to launch an innovative drone-based AI surveillance effort for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of the sea turtle species along the Florida coast, eliminating the need for researchers to attach tracking devices on the animals, while improving sea turtle research. 

This AI sea turtle project uses unmanned aircraft to identify species, gender, markings and more. The lightweight, fixed-wing AI aircraft can scan a wide area along the Volusia County coastline for four hours – flying high enough not to disturb the turtles and low enough to capture high resolution photos and video – before a shift change with the next AI drone is required. Then, image recognition software and other AI are used to assimilate this valuable wildlife research. 

According to Embry-Riddle Associate Professor of Aeronautical Science John Robbins, this AI has the potential to revolutionize many aspects of marine science and conservation.