AI-powered surveillance equipment, including cameras and microphones, has become vital for the United Kingdom as it battles mounting biodiversity challenges. These advanced technologies have shown to be remarkably effective in accurately identifying and tracking various species and their natural habitats.
According to a recent report by The Guardian, this innovative approach is transforming wildlife observation. AI-equipped cameras and microphones have enabled the precise identification of animals and birds, allowing researchers to monitor their behaviours within their native environments non-intrusively.
The technology is being used across three distinct locations in the UK. These devices have successfully captured various sounds and images. These are then sent to the AI software to identify the different species and their specific geographical coordinates.
“The crucial point is the scale of the operation,” Anthony Dancer, a conservation specialist at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) told The Guardian.
“We have captured tens of thousands of data files and thousands of hours of audio from these test sites and identified all sorts of animals from them. We couldn’t have done it at that scale using human observers. Only AI made it possible.”
The experimental areas have been cordoned off from human activities to ensure the data is not disturbed. “Now that we have demonstrated the technology’s promise, we can expand to other areas.” Dancer added.
Among the beneficiaries of this technological breakthrough are avian species like the Eurasian blackcap, blackbird, and great tit. According to Neil Strong, biodiversity strategy manager for Network Rail, which owns the project’s test sites, the AI algorithms easily detected these three bird species.
The application of AI technology has even extended to the urban confines of London, where the algorithms have unveiled many animal species. “On the sites that we have already tested, we found signs of more than 30 species of bird and six species of bat, as well as foxes and hedgehogs, so we were pleasantly surprised with the relatively healthy levels of wildlife we found in London,” Dancer told The Guardian.
This isn’t the first time that AI-operated cameras have assisted in wildlife conservation. Facial recognition software has successfully been used to track both puffins and seals in Scotland and beyond with positive results. While the news may seem saturated with the horrors of AI, we must remember to keep perspective and understand that this technology can achieve many positive things too.
[Via The Guardian]