Categories: technology, environment
What? The COTS-bot autonomous submersible drone is set to begin its mission of diminishing the population of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) plaguing the Great Barrier Reef. The drone, designed by a research team from Queensland University, identifies the starfish and then injects them with a deadly poison. Capable of killing 200 starfish in a single mission, the persistent drones could be a cost efficient solution for protecting the reef which supports a great diversity of life and assists in carbon and nitrogen fixing.
So what? Rapid advancements in robotics and drones, including miniaturization and improved artificial intelligence, could greatly expand the capabilities of wildlife population control drones. Drones could inject vaccines, genetic modifications and/or poisons to a wide variety of animals. Drones will help improve our understanding of the relationships between living organisms, their ecosystems and impacts on the biosphere. Drones may open possibilities of altering the environment of celestial bodies in order to make them capable of supporting terrestrial life forms (terraforming).
Source: Quartz - A lethal AI robot will police the Great Barrier Reef for starfish