Drones can do all sorts of things, including keeping people safe. Now technology to help them spot crocodiles and protect swimmers, has been unveiled in Brisbane.

Sam Wilson reports.


First sharks were under the drone spotlight, now it’s crocs.

And drone users can spot the marine reptiles faster.

New, world leading artificial intelligence added to the “Little Ripper” drone, drops the operating delay to less than one second.

Ben Thurgood, Amazon Web Services: “In real time, so they can stop the drone and investigate further. That second could mean the difference between life and death in a potential crocodile attack.”

The new program can identify crocodiles with 93 per cent accuracy.

It also can be used to spot swimmers and various other marine life.

Ben Trollope, Westpac Little Ripper: “That’s 22 different objects in the marine environment, not just crocs, not just sharks, anything from a conservation perspective to a search and rescue or a safety perspective.”

Lifesavers previously had a 17 per cent chance of identifying a crocodile in the surf with the naked eye.

The drones can now be monitored from a mobile phone, allowing for unprecedented access to this vision.

Jason Argent, Surf Life Saving Queensland: “Any piece of equipment we can add to the lifesavers toolbox which is the drone, coupled with the AI will make beach goers safer in Queensland.”

The CrocSpotter drone program will be rolled out across far North Queensland beaches by the end of the year.

With vision for long term expansion including Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Sam Wilson, QUT News.