Intel’s AI-Powered Drone To Save Marine Life

Scientists foresee a collapse of all commercial fisheries by 2048. Environmentalists have predicted the end of most sea life within the next six to 16 years. However, marine biologist Dr. Iain Kerr is optimistic about finding solutions to save the seas.

His company Ocean Alliance has now tied up with tech giant Intel to leverage the power of hi-end drones capable of gathering data from whales.

Kerr, along with his team, has developed a drone called SnotBot to capture images of whales. These drones also collect the blow, or snot, exhaled from whales when they surface to breathe. Petri dishes have been mounted to the drone’s base to help researchers gather whale’s spray when the drone hovers above it.

“That blow is rich with biological data stemming from DNA, stress hormones, pregnancy hormones, viruses, bacteria, and toxins. The SnotBot then relays collected samples to researchers on boats that are a comfortable distance away from the whales,” said Alyson Griffin, vice president, global marketing, Intel Corporation.

The Intel-powered drone will also focus on analyzing the health of whales and the ocean habitat. This will help the environment as a whole.

Intel drones will be phased into the SnotBot initiatives. The company cited the Falcon 8+ as one such a drone designed for robust flight performance and precision. This drone can be used in rugged environments that ocean conditions often present.

Data from the drones can be downloaded and transferred to machines. The algorithms are capable of identifying a particular whale and assess its health in real-time.

“Artificial intelligence makes it possible to do this in the presence of confounding factors, such as the whale’s unpredictable movements and limited ocean visibility,” said Griffin.

Intel will also help to advance the SnotBot program on several fronts—from drone technology and data collection to data analytics and artificial intelligence.

Intel top brass say that industries must work together to realize the full potential of AI. The company, therefore, is working to promote the creation of open data exchanges and initiatives, easier-to-use tools, and training to broaden the talent pool, as well as to provide easier access to intelligent technology.

Lisa Spelman, vice president & general manager of Intel Xeon products and data center marketing at Intel, says public policy will also play a critical role development of artificial intelligence solutions. “To ensure that AI is used to benefit the world, Intel is focusing on developing use cases and deployments of AI to aid in our most challenging issues. In the medical field, Intel is currently sponsoring a Kaggle competition for cervical cancer screening and a Tianchi competition on lung cancer identification. We’ve also invested $25 million in the Broad Institute to analyze massive amounts of genomic data,” she said.

Intel to help U.S. DoD

Intel has been focusing on machine learning—machines that can sense, reason, and act will accelerate solutions to large-scale problems in a myriad of fields, including science, finance, medicine, and education, thereby augmenting human capability.

In view of that Intel has been selected by DARPA, a U.S. Department of Defense agency, to collaborate on the development of a powerful new data-handling and computing platform that will leverage machine learning and other AI techniques.

By mid-2021, the goal of HIVE is to provide a 16-node demonstration platform showcasing 1,000x performance-per-watt improvement over today’s best-in-class hardware and software for graph analytics workloads. Intel’s interest and focus in the area may lead to earlier commercial products featuring components of this pathfinding technology much sooner,” said Dhiraj Mallick, vice president of the Data Center Group and general manager of the Innovation Pathfinding and Architecture Group at Intel.

[Featured Image by Daniel Feldman/AP Images]

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