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Australia Technology

Australia Deploys Shark-Spotting Drones To Keep Watch Over Beachgoers (gizmag.com) 44

Zothecula writes: With tens of thousands of miles of coastline and a recent spike in shark attacks, Australia is exploring some pretty imaginative approaches to ensuring the safety of its beachgoers. Magnetic barriers and shark-tracking phone apps are a few of the tech ideas that have been floated, and the state of New South Wales is now turning to drones to help do the job. It has launched a trial of unmanned shark-spotting aircraft, which will survey the coastline for predators lurking in shallow waters.
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Australia Deploys Shark-Spotting Drones To Keep Watch Over Beachgoers

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  • to defend against the lasers on the sharks? Maybe some-kind of shark laser counter measures?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    and are the drones web-scale yet?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So when politicians (political sharks) and lawyers (landsharks) are on the beach will there be false positives? :)

  • These will be shaped like sharks, right?
    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      I missed the hyphen the first time I read it, and thought they used shark spotting drones, i.e. shark trained to spot drones. To be honest, I'd rather have shark at the beaches than drones with cameras. Shark are honest predators, unlike drone operators.

      Raptors are better suited for that job, though. Perhaps they can spot shark too?

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Actually they should be shaped like killer whales and smell like dead sharks, they could be dropped from say a helicopter to scare off any sharks getting to close to the beach. http://marinesciencetoday.com/... [marinesciencetoday.com] and seeing there is a slashdot video debate https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]. Of course the last thing you want those robot killer whales to do is attract horny killer whales. Apparently just one killer whale scare will see sharks go for quite some time.

  • More like, drones to keep watch over people who might be talking about "munitions."

  • by OffTheLip ( 636691 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @11:56AM (#51622191)
    There has been some use of drones by a local water rescue team for a secluded beach area on the east coast of the US. It's a matter of cost and effectiveness. The coast is not protected by a standard lifeguard service so having these eyes in the sky gives the mobile water rescue teams the ability to cover large areas via ATV's.
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @11:59AM (#51622225) Homepage
    Using drones to spot sharks is untested technology with no backing in scientific method of research, analysis, or peer review
    ...and as a member of the Australian scientific community I for fear of spending a decade in prison wholly endorse our new beach drones!
    • ...and as a member of the Australian scientific community I for fear of spending a decade in prison wholly endorse our new beach drones!

      This article would definitely violate the new Australian Science and Defense gag law. The Aussies are building a new defense system to protect their citizens from shark attacks . . . and much worse . . . and now the word is out to all potential enemies of Australia.

      Only the other day, I was drawing up plans for an amphibious invasion of Australia using a specially trained force of frogs. Now I know that the drones with lasers would be a threat to my frogs, so I can adjust my plans accordingly.

  • They're wayyy more likely to be killed by a cow than by a sharks.
    http://thenewdaily.com.au/news... [thenewdaily.com.au]

    In fact, with all the dangerous animals in Australia, you're probably much safer in the water...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Cause of death per capita is not a reliable way to gauge creature risk. Deaths per hour of human contact is a proper comparison. And (to no one's honest surprise) domesticated animals cause a very low number of human deaths per hour of human contact.

      There are three dominant reasons that sharks do not kill more humans than they do.
      1) Few actual encounters. People are generally cautious about sharks and take somewhere between reasonable and excessive precautions. This makes attacking them difficult for a

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      They're wayyy more likely to be killed by a cow than by a sharks.
      http://thenewdaily.com.au/news... [thenewdaily.com.au]

      In fact, with all the dangerous animals in Australia, you're probably much safer in the water...

      Crocodiles (the salt water varieties are the really dangerous buggers), stone fish, sea snakes, blue ringed octopuses, box jellyfish, irukandji jellyfish and backpacker murderers can all be found in the water... And dont think you're safe on the beach because the coastal Taipan is one of the most dangerous and aggressive snakes in Oz. Not to mention sting rays buried in the sand.

      In fact since moving to the UK, I've felt a sense of ease since the most dangerous creature here is an errant minicabber on the

  • unmanned shark-spotting aircraft

    Cool use of tech. But don't tell the sharks about

    Hacking a Professional Drone [slashdot.org].

  • This is one very expensive piece of equipment that will be operating over water. (Unless they are looking for "land sharks") The pictures show no floats on it. What happens if there is a catastrophic failure and it crashes? At least if it is floating, they would have a chance of recovering it. The Australian government seems to have a great deal of faith in the reliability of this technology.

    • From TFA:

      Further to identifying imminent threats, the Little Ripper is also designed to serve as a rescue tool. Each will carry life-saving pods packed with defibrillators, floatation devices, shark repellent and survival kits that can be dropped off to people in danger.

      Those flotation devices might help to keep that device above water if it went down, but the article didn't really specify. I'd surely hope someone at least considered this.

      • by rjune ( 123157 )

        Those flotation devices generally use a gas cylinder to inflate. Would an uninflated device have enough buoyancy to float? I'll agree with you that the article is pretty shallow and doesn't give a lot of detail. This thing could wind up being a very expensive anchor.

  • Do some drone subs instead of planes, then you just need a cool rubber "costume" for your drone and you've got a live-action Scooby Doo episode.

  • From TFA:

    It could also enable sharks to be detected at night through infrared technology.

    Really? I'm pretty sure that like most aquatic creatures sharks are poikilothermic.

  • They were armed with "lasers"

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