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Whale Safe project tests Ai-equipped buoys to reduce ship collisions

Artificial intelligence software that monitors sounds inside bright yellow buoys could reduce whale deaths by identifying whale species and pod locations. Scientists then verify the data and relay that information to any ships that pass by, helping them avoid the animals. the safe whale The project was launched by the Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory and its partners, with the first Whale Safe systems already deployed in the Santa Barbara Channel, near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Each buoy carries an onboard computer that records the sounds of the whales using an underwater microphone. An AI algorithm then detects the clicks and screeches of specific whale species before transmitting the data via satellite every two hours, where a scientist will review the software’s results to verify that the whale sounds are correctly identified. The animals’ locations are then calculated by analyzing water conditions (via a separate machine learning model) and local whale sighting records. If a ship is within the calculated route of the animals, a notification can be issued to warn the crew.

More than 80 endangered whales die each year from collisions with ships in the West Coast region.

More than 50 percent of all US container ship traffic passing through West Coast ports. Scientists estimate that more than 80 endangered whales from a variety of native species, including blue, fin, humpback and gray, are killed each year from ship strikes in the region as they migrate to feeding grounds. “Whaling ship collisions continue to be one of the leading causes of death for endangered whales, but with these new types of monitoring technology and warning systems, deaths have begun to decline,” said Marc Benioff, president and Co-CEO of Salesforce.

a:hover]:text-black [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black text-gray-63″>Image: Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory

Benioff and his wife Lynne helped create the Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory, a philanthropic effort led by the University of California, Santa Barbara. The organization has a three-step process for taking ocean-related environmental concerns raised by the community and then organizing the necessary scientists and funding to resolve them. The organization is led by Douglas McCauley, a professor of ocean sciences at UCSB. “Different populations of whales have different dialects”, McCauley saying Register. “To get this AI to work in California, it was required to train the AI ​​specifically using the calls of these California whales.”

The AI ​​algorithm has some whale accents to brush up on. The team hopes to deploy more AI-powered buoys in other US coastal areas such as Seattle, Vancouver and San Diego and has not ruled out that the Whale Safe project could one day have a global reach to more international regions.

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