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.