Autonomous Shark-Monitoring Drone

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Autonomous Shark-Monitoring Drone

Eliot Miranda-2
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

    as you may know, Sharks, as apex predators, are vital to maintaining healthy marine ecosystems, and at the same time, their populations are plummeting due to human actions.  It is estimated for example that the population of pelagic oceanic white tip sharks is reducing by 17% per year [1] and I've heard (can't find a reference) that populations in the eastern indian/western pacific are at 1% of normal levels.  Such reductions in populations create "trophic cascades" that produce wide-ranging changes in populations of different species all the way down the food chain [2].  And the marine ecosystem is a key source of human nutrition; it comprises between 13% and 17% of global human protein intake [3].

  As you may also know, there is currently a shark attack crisis in New South Wales [4].  While most people in the region oppose killing sharks in response to the crisis, existing solutions, netting and culling reduce those same threatened populations of sharks upon which the sustainability of marine food supply d ecosystems depend [5], and are arguably ineffective [6].  Apparently the most successful approach at avoiding attacks is the use of human spotters, as used in Cape Town, where people in tall towers scan the sea close to shore [6].

  But please watch this Youtube video [7] from Pismo Beach, California.  The shark is spotted at about 1:20 into the video.  This drone, a phantom 3, is sending live video back to the operators, who are using remote control.  What we can see from this video is that the point of view of drones is far superior to that of spotters.

  My first thought is that autonomous drones could provide a cheap and scalable solution to patrolling beaches to prevent shark attacks.  I expect that processors like the Pi 2 have easily enough processing power to both plan and execute search patterns along beaches, and perform the image recognition necessary to reliably detect potentially dangerous sharks.  A drone might also be able autonomously to visit surfers and swimmers near to the shark and warn them, either by some signal such as flashing red LEDs or an audible message (language issues notwithstanding).  The drone would have to be able to identify swimmers and surfers in the water (not easy; sharks confuse seals and surfers all the time), but computing an optimal route to visit suspected swimmers should be relatively easy :-).

  I imagine that sooner or later it will be possible to construct cheap rugged solar powered docking/charging shelters that drones could depart from and return to, to charge and shelter from the elements after patrols.  Satellite communications could provide status reports for maintenance.

  My second thought is that as a community, we probably have all the necessary expertise to construct a working prototype that at least demonstrates feasibility.  Such a prototype would have to be able to fly above the ocean along a beach under its own control for a useful period of time, at least  15 minutes, and demonstrate that it can identify a shark in the water (we could use a rubber shark for testing ;-) ).

Our community includes people doing image recognition with the Pi, radio control experts, users of 3D printers, and some exceptional programmers.  If a small, strong group could be formed with the relevant expertise we may be able to develop a prototype in a short enough time frame to be relevant.  Of course, availability of time is a big issue. I couldn't contribute more than a few hours a week.  But nothing ventured, nothing gained.  So I'm writing this message to the Squeak and Pharo communities, and bcc'ing a few friends I know that have relevant expertise to ask for two things; first, for good information on scoping out the project, possible technologies, power budgets, costs, what is available off-the-shelf (both in hardware and known algorithms) and what we would need to construct ourselves, and second, for volunteers.  Who among us are really excited by this project, have relevant expertise and are motivated to make a contribution?





crazier ideas:

Infra red cameras are becoming cheap and easily available.  Species like Great White and Bull Shark have elevated metabolisms, effectively they are warm blooded, so these two facts may allow spotting at night.

Sharks are extremely sensitive to electrical fields; maybe some kind of transmitter could be fitted to a drone, e.g. via a wire suspended in the water, that could generate a field that could direct the shark away from swimmers

_,,,^..^,,,_
best, Eliot


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Re: Autonomous Shark-Monitoring Drone

David T. Lewis
Sounds like an interesting and worthwhile thing to do. I'm not sure how
much I can contribute, but if it turns out that there is a need for any
VM plugins and/or OSProcess glue to make the thing work, I will happily
volunteer for that.

I don't mind buying some hardware (Rasperry Pi?) to work with, although
that rubber shark may be a bit beyond my budget.

Seriously, this is a good idea and it would be a lot of fun if we could
make it work.

Dave


On Wed, Oct 07, 2015 at 08:54:55AM -0700, Eliot Miranda wrote:

> Dear Friends and Colleagues,
>
>     as you may know, Sharks, as apex predators, are vital to maintaining
> healthy marine ecosystems, and at the same time, their populations are
> plummeting due to human actions.  It is estimated for example that the
> population of pelagic oceanic white tip sharks is reducing by 17% per year
> [1] and I've heard (can't find a reference) that populations in the eastern
> indian/western pacific are at 1% of normal levels.  Such reductions in
> populations create "trophic cascades" that produce wide-ranging changes in
> populations of different species all the way down the food chain [2].  And
> the marine ecosystem is a key source of human nutrition; it comprises
> between 13% and 17% of global human protein intake [3].
>
>   As you may also know, there is currently a shark attack crisis in New
> South Wales [4].  While most people in the region oppose killing sharks in
> response to the crisis, existing solutions, netting and culling reduce
> those same threatened populations of sharks upon which the sustainability
> of marine food supply d ecosystems depend [5], and are arguably ineffective
> [6].  Apparently the most successful approach at avoiding attacks is the
> use of human spotters, as used in Cape Town, where people in tall towers
> scan the sea close to shore [6].
>
>   But please watch this Youtube video
> <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2U3gjwJfS4> [7] from Pismo Beach,
> California.  The shark is spotted at about 1:20 into the video.  This
> drone, a phantom 3, is sending live video back to the operators, who are
> using remote control.  What we can see from this video is that the point of
> view of drones is far superior to that of spotters.
>
>   My first thought is that autonomous drones could provide a cheap and
> scalable solution to patrolling beaches to prevent shark attacks.  I expect
> that processors like the Pi 2 have easily enough processing power to both
> plan and execute search patterns along beaches, and perform the image
> recognition necessary to reliably detect potentially dangerous sharks.  A
> drone might also be able autonomously to visit surfers and swimmers near to
> the shark and warn them, either by some signal such as flashing red LEDs or
> an audible message (language issues notwithstanding).  The drone would have
> to be able to identify swimmers and surfers in the water (not easy; sharks
> confuse seals and surfers all the time), but computing an optimal route to
> visit suspected swimmers should be relatively easy :-).
>
>   I imagine that sooner or later it will be possible to construct cheap
> rugged solar powered docking/charging shelters that drones could depart
> from and return to, to charge and shelter from the elements after patrols.
> Satellite communications could provide status reports for maintenance.
>
>   My second thought is that as a community, we probably have all the
> necessary expertise to construct a working prototype that at least
> demonstrates feasibility.  Such a prototype would have to be able to fly
> above the ocean along a beach under its own control for a useful period of
> time, at least  15 minutes, and demonstrate that it can identify a shark in
> the water (we could use a rubber shark
> <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dghbyBaQyI> for testing ;-) ).
>
> Our community includes people doing image recognition with the Pi, radio
> control experts, users of 3D printers, and some exceptional programmers.
> If a small, strong group could be formed with the relevant expertise we may
> be able to develop a prototype in a short enough time frame to be
> relevant.  Of course, availability of time is a big issue. I couldn't
> contribute more than a few hours a week.  But nothing ventured, nothing
> gained.  So I'm writing this message to the Squeak and Pharo communities,
> and bcc'ing a few friends I know that have relevant expertise to ask for
> two things; first, for good information on scoping out the project,
> possible technologies, power budgets, costs, what is available
> off-the-shelf (both in hardware and known algorithms) and what we would
> need to construct ourselves, and second, for volunteers.  Who among us are
> really excited by this project, have relevant expertise and are motivated
> to make a contribution?
>
>
> [1] www.sharkadvocates.org/cites_4sharks_owt_fact_sheet.pdf
> [2] http://www.globalshark.ca/pressmaterial/cascading/fig1_web.pdf
> [3] http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/3_foodconsumption/en/index5.html
> [4] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-34398516
> [5]
> http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/29/shark-hit-australian-community-opposes-cull-research-finds
> [6] http://www.nonswsharkcull.net/latestnews/tag/shark_spotting/
> [7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2U3gjwJfS4
>
>
>
> crazier ideas:
>
> Infra red cameras are becoming cheap and easily available.  Species like
> Great White and Bull Shark have elevated metabolisms, effectively they are
> warm blooded, so these two facts may allow spotting at night.
>
> Sharks are extremely sensitive to electrical fields; maybe some kind of
> transmitter could be fitted to a drone, e.g. via a wire suspended in the
> water, that could generate a field that could direct the shark away from
> swimmers
>
> _,,,^..^,,,_
> best, Eliot

>


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Re: Autonomous Shark-Monitoring Drone

Edgar J. De Cleene-3
In reply to this post by Eliot Miranda-2
Re: [squeak-dev] Autonomous Shark-Monitoring Drone Elliot , here my 2 cents

He is the man to contact

Jon Hylands

http://www.huv.com/jon

Sure he have something to share

Edgar




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Re: Autonomous Shark-Monitoring Drone

Jon Hylands

I don't actually have any experience with UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) technology. The robots that I build a long time ago were AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles), which are completely different.

That being said, there are a lot of people doing image analysis from drone footage for various purposes, mostly having to do with monitoring crops of one type or another.

- Jon


On Thu, Oct 8, 2015 at 6:05 AM, Edgar J. De Cleene <[hidden email]> wrote:
Elliot , here my 2 cents

He is the man to contact

Jon Hylands

http://www.huv.com/jon

Sure he have something to share

Edgar








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Re: [Pharo-dev] Autonomous Shark-Monitoring Drone

SergeStinckwich
In reply to this post by Eliot Miranda-2
On Wed, Oct 7, 2015 at 5:54 PM, Eliot Miranda <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Hi Eliot,

>     as you may know, Sharks, as apex predators, are vital to maintaining
> healthy marine ecosystems, and at the same time, their populations are
> plummeting due to human actions.  It is estimated for example that the
> population of pelagic oceanic white tip sharks is reducing by 17% per year
> [1] and I've heard (can't find a reference) that populations in the eastern
> indian/western pacific are at 1% of normal levels.  Such reductions in
> populations create "trophic cascades" that produce wide-ranging changes in
> populations of different species all the way down the food chain [2].  And
> the marine ecosystem is a key source of human nutrition; it comprises
> between 13% and 17% of global human protein intake [3].

Recently, I talk with some people from my research institute who are working
on Shark behavior modeling in the CHARC program :
http://www.la-reunion.ird.fr/le-programme-charc
Sorry this is in French only

They use acoustic marks on sharks in order to locate them thanks to a
surveillance network.
The idea is not only to manage the risks regarding sharks but also to
use them to have information about ocean's environment parameters.
I start to discuss a little bit with them in order to model sharks behavior.

>   As you may also know, there is currently a shark attack crisis in New
> South Wales [4].  While most people in the region oppose killing sharks in
> response to the crisis, existing solutions, netting and culling reduce those
> same threatened populations of sharks upon which the sustainability of
> marine food supply d ecosystems depend [5], and are arguably ineffective
> [6].  Apparently the most successful approach at avoiding attacks is the use
> of human spotters, as used in Cape Town, where people in tall towers scan
> the sea close to shore [6].
>
>   But please watch this Youtube video [7] from Pismo Beach, California.  The
> shark is spotted at about 1:20 into the video.  This drone, a phantom 3, is
> sending live video back to the operators, who are using remote control.
> What we can see from this video is that the point of view of drones is far
> superior to that of spotters.
>
>   My first thought is that autonomous drones could provide a cheap and
> scalable solution to patrolling beaches to prevent shark attacks.  I expect
> that processors like the Pi 2 have easily enough processing power to both
> plan and execute search patterns along beaches, and perform the image
> recognition necessary to reliably detect potentially dangerous sharks.  A
> drone might also be able autonomously to visit surfers and swimmers near to
> the shark and warn them, either by some signal such as flashing red LEDs or
> an audible message (language issues notwithstanding).  The drone would have
> to be able to identify swimmers and surfers in the water (not easy; sharks
> confuse seals and surfers all the time), but computing an optimal route to
> visit suspected swimmers should be relatively easy :-).
>
>   I imagine that sooner or later it will be possible to construct cheap
> rugged solar powered docking/charging shelters that drones could depart from
> and return to, to charge and shelter from the elements after patrols.
> Satellite communications could provide status reports for maintenance.

This is a really interesting project. My lab is also interested by
using drones for environmental surveillance.
I can talk with my colleagues working on sharks if this is something
that they envision for the future.
Another idea is to use marine drones.

Regards
--
Serge Stinckwich
UCBN & UMI UMMISCO 209 (IRD/UPMC)
Every DSL ends up being Smalltalk
http://www.doesnotunderstand.org/