Environment AI delivers koalaty count

AI delivers koalaty count

Counting koalas in burnt out bushland is harder than you might think.

Queensland University of Technology’s Associate Professor Grant Hamilton says the traditional methods of people gazing up at trees or using dogs to sniff out koalas are inaccurate and invasive.

Even high-tech infrared drones can miss some koalas or count the same ones twice.

By throwing some artificial intelligence (AI) into the mix Professor Hamilton has significantly improved the method.

The AI factors in variables, such as temperature and the density of the forest canopy.

“By accounting for different factors about the site that can impact on how many koalas we detect, we’re making the margin of error smaller and so making our estimates more accurate,” said Professor Hamilton.

The AI enhanced counting system uses drones fitted with infrared cameras covering bushland in a “lawnmower” pattern early in the morning, when the koalas’ body heat is more easily detected.

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