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Australia's severe bushfires have threatened the koala population. Queensland University of Technology, QUT, has been working for many years with monitoring the population using sensors and drones, but now the project will be ramped up significantly. A donation from the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants Program has made it possible to build an AI hub.
The idea is to build a network of groups and organizations around the country, which will use drones to monitor areas and then send the data back to the AI hub for analysis. One of the advantages of the system that will be built is that the data will be processed quickly by an AI, who then can send the results back to the specific group that sent the data. In this way, the groups can quickly get a clear picture of the situation for the population at the location they are at.
The work is led by Professor Grant Hamilton, who in a press release says that the accuracy of counting the population manually reaches up to about 70 percent. But with the AI system, the accuracy will be between 85 to 100 percent.
He is hopeful that the initiative will not only create a good understanding of the population but also that it will lead to positive changes:
"This system will allow for targeted on-ground activities to achieve management outcomes for koalas and other wildlife in bushfire affected areas, effectively and efficiently increasing resilience of these areas. And it can also be used to identify pest species for management in these areas".