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'Clever Buoy' Shark Detection Technology Tested At Australia's Bondi Beach [VIDEO]

Feb 18, 2016 04:41 PM EST
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Australia's Bondi Beach has launched a new shark warming system that uses sonar-detecting buoys to pick up on nearby sharks and their movements to alert lifeguards and beach dwellers.

"Clever Buoy," as the shark warning system has been called, is a joint research project led by Perth, Australia-based Shark Mitigation Systems, Optus and Google. The creation of these buoys follows heightened concerns about shark attacks along the Australian east coast. In 2015 there were 18 attacks in Australia – the most since 2009, when there were 22.

A sonar emitter, fixed to the ocean floor and attached to the buoy anchored 500 meters offshore, is similar to the facial recognition technology used in airports. The idea is that a series of these buoys running parallel to a beach can detect an object that is self-propelled and more than six feet long, and send a warning signal to authorities on shore via an app. Lifeguards would then sound an alarm telling all swimmers to get out of the water.

"It uses new-age sonar technology, coupled with some software that we've written, to develop what is, for all intents and purposes, a virtual shark net," Craig Anderson, who founded Shark Mitigation Services, said in a statement, adding that the detection technology has about a 90 percent success rate.

The trial at Bondi Beach is part of the New South Wales (NSW) government's $16 million shark attack management strategy. Eight more of the devices are expected to be trialed along the NSW coastline, two of which have already been put in place at Sharpes Beach and Lighthouse Beach.

Clever Buoy not only holds the potential for saving human lives, but is also considered a "clean and green," cost-effective alternative to netting, drum baiting, and tagging projects, which either harm other marine life or don't account for all sharks in an area.

If successful, 10 additional buoys will be deployed along the coastline north of Sydney to Forster.



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