Aotearoa’s last predators

In order to identify small populations of predators in vast areas, the technology needs to have advanced capabilities across several areas.

This research will develop and test a group of smart networked sensors that use their collective intelligence to decide if each individual sensor is in the right location to observe a predator. With the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms (models) designed to learn as they detect, the sensor network will be able to seek out the last predators in huge areas with increasing efficiency using multiple sensing technologies. These technologies may include thermal cameras, stereo colour cameras, microphones and electronic noses.

Identifying and developing this research proposal has been a journey. But at every turn we have been reassured that we are going in the right direction. There is a gap and a need for this technology – modular, sustainable and adaptive real-time predators surveillance system, with capacity to learn and plan from data and knowledge and operate autonomously to a large extent. There is a lot happening in this very dynamic and rapidly advancing space, but everything points towards a merging of efforts in this particular focus area.

Bringing a transdisciplinary team to develop this technology including early-to-mid career researchers like myself, and students, I believe is creating a new space of expert collaboration which could bring New Zealand to the very cutting edge of this global issue.