Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tapping AI to Keep Ships from Striking Endangered Sea Mammals

After centuries of steadily decimating the world’s whale populations, humans have taken significant steps to reverse their catastrophic impact. One of the latest: an AI-powered project spearheaded by the Canadian government that aims to minimize collisions between ships and North Atlantic right whales, 50-foot-long creatures that got their name from early whalers for being the “right” ones to kill.

The problem is relatively new. North Atlantic right whales are moving into new waters, possibly following plankton that are being driven north by climate change. Forced to follow their prey, the whales have adopted a new migration path through an established shipping route. With the global population of right whales now estimated to be just 500, protecting these endangered creatures from ship strikes has quickly become an urgent issue.