Intel is partnering with wildlife researchers and conservationists to advance research with drone and AI technology.
The company has announced two separate collaborations in very different environments. Intel has partnered with wildlife photographer and conservationist Ole Jørgen Liodden, using the Intel® Falcon™ 8+ system to track polar bear communities in the Arctic. They have also partnered with Parley for the Oceans and Oceans Alliance on the creatively named Snotbot project, which uses artificial intelligence to research whale blow as an indicator of the whale’s health.
“…Intel’s innovations are powering science exploration to help better understand the world around us in safer, more efficient and less invasive ways, allowing researchers to quickly act upon data that informs the longer-term health of our environment and humanity,” says the announcement. “Leveraging Intel drone and AI technologies for science exploration provides researchers with powerful tools to better inform their findings, giving them the ability to more quickly, safely, and cost-effectively gather and process critical data.”
“Artificial intelligence is poised to help us solve some of our most daunting challenges by accelerating large-scale problem-solving, including unleashing new scientific discovery,” said Naveen Rao, vice president and general manager of the Artificial Intelligence Products Group at Intel Corporation. “Intel is proud to bring our expertise and technology to these research efforts and aid in the mission to better understand the health of our planet and, ultimately, humanity.”
The Polar Bear Exploration project uses drones to eliminate many of the barriers to studying Polar bears. Helicopters are both invasive and expensive, and extreme environmental conditions make boat exploration difficult and dangerous. Liodden is using the Falcon 8+ system to help him capture data about behavior patterns, breeding, feeding and migration. This research “helps scientists not only understand the effects of climate change on the Arctic, but also the health of the entire planet,” says Intel.
“A recent expedition found that polar bears did not show any signs of distress or changes in behavior when the Intel Falcon 8+ drone was flown approximately 50-100 meters from the animals. The thermal camera payload made it easy to spot the bears against the colder background. This progress in studying polar bears with the Intel Falcon 8+ system creates new research opportunities, powering science exploration in ways never thought possible.”
“Polar bears are a symbol of the Arctic,” said Liodden. “They are strong, intelligent animals. If they become extinct, there will be challenges with our entire ecosystem. Drone technology can hopefully help us get ahead of these challenges to better understand our world and preserve the earth’s environment.”
The “Project Snotbot” collaboration uses sophisticated AI technology to assess whale health through analysis of whale blow. “Through this advanced technology, researchers can make more timely decisions in the field and better understand the rich biological data that whale snot holds, including DNA, stress and pregnancy hormones, viruses, bacteria and toxins,” explains Intel. “So far, the SnotBot has been used to collect spout water from blue whales, right whales, gray whales, humpbacks and orcas in oceans around the world. Artificial intelligence gives whales a voice to share the health of our oceans and the environment.”
“Parley Snotbot, a collaboration with Ocean Alliance and Intel, is a new and non-invasive research technology which allows us to explore our oceans in real time and open source data and knowledge, said Cyrill Gutsch, Parley for the Oceans Founder. “Our vision is to create a global network of digital exploration tools which generate the big data we need to identify threats with new speed and precision, so we can act on them instantly.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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