Clever Buoy: it detects sharks, not people

A joint-venture formed by Optus, Google and Shark Attack Mitigation Systems has developed smart ocean buoys that detect shark-like objects and send real-time valuable information to lifeguards on the beach.

The Clever Buoy is still a prototype, but the project promises to improve safety for all surfers and beachgoers worldwide. The advanced shark detection technology uses new sonar technology to detect shark-sized objects in coastal waters.

When detection is made by the Clever Buoy, an alert will be sent to relevant audiences using Google+ circles, via the Optus Network. It currently detects a shark-like object of two meters or more in length.

Future development of the buoy will involve inbuilt decision–making systems, which will attempt to differentiate the object as a shark or mammal such as a dolphin or whale, with an appropriate response.

The technology is similar to the development of face recognition software in humans. The first successful tests were made in the Sydney Aquarium and the Abrolhos Islands, in Western Australia.

The maximum sonar detection range is currently estimated at around 60 meters (196 feet) if deployed in deep water. Shallower water may reduce the range.

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