Lifesaver drones will soon be auto-detecting sharks and shouting at swimmers from above.

One application we didn’t see coming is this, the Shark Spotter, a new initiative being tested by the Ripper Group out of New South Wales, Australia. In conjunction with local surf life saving services, the Ripper Group has been using a range of fairly serious-grade UAVs to assist with lifeguard duties.

From the shore, or even when you’re out there floating in the water, sharks are more or less invisible underwater, unless they decide to go the fullĀ Jawstreatment and poke their top fins out of the water. The inability to really see what’s happening underneath you is one of the reasons so many people have thalassophobia, or an intense fear of the sea.

But sharks are often very visible from directly above, so the Ripper Group is developing systems and algorithms that will give airborne drones the ability to constantly and automatically scan for sharks around surf beaches.

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