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Collisions with ships kill many whales every year, but the AI program Whale Safe should be able to reduce the number of dead and injured whales by simple means. The idea is that the program should be able to figure out where there are whales at the moment so that the ships in the area can slow down temporarily.
Lower speeds can reduce the number of whales that die in ship collisions by 80-90 percent. However, lowering the speed of a supertanker is not done in a jiffy. In addition, time is money for the shipping companies, so knowing in advance where and when you need to slow down would be very helpful.
Whale Safe collects data from acoustic buoys that listen for whales, observers who look for whales, historical data about the whales' migration patterns and more. The AI then calculates the probability that there will be whales in a certain area.
Hopefully this can save the lives of many whales. An investigation showed that 16 blue whales, 18 humpback whales and 41 herring whales died in collisions with ships only in an area off the coast of California where there are plenty of both whales and ships. With Whale Safe, the hope is that that figure will drop significantly.