Trialing new AI tech - Predator Free Whangarei

Trialing new AI tech

On this road towards Predator Free 2050 we have the dedicated help of volunteers, rangers, community groups… and Artificial Intelligence!

Alongside the people-power, science & technology will be a huge part in catching every last rat, mustelid, and possum, in New Zealand.

The Predator Free Whangārei team have finally received their pre-ordered thermal-imaging AI camera and have been having trialing it out at Whangārei Heads, as part of the 9,000ha+ possum elimination project.

There are lots of projects tinkering with AI in the predator control space, many of which has been in the news.

This thermal imaging AI camera, named DOC AI Cam and invented by the kiwi-run Cacophany project, records any movement that happens in front of its lens and sends this thermal imaging data to a cloud, which then uses AI to identify its subjects.

This AI camera can identify pests as small as mice, to large angulates like deer. It can detect taonga species like kiwi or bird species, too – how clever! What’s more is that it can record bird presence via acoustic monitoring telling us the species!  

Having eyes and ears 24/7 on the ground means we can save hundreds of hours of rangers checking the camera, retrieving its SD card, and going through thousands of images back at the office.

This new technology allows us to get a live-time update of what critters are out there.

With any new technology, there is a bit of a ‘trial and learn’ phase. Especially with AI, the device will get smarter with more use. It is still in its infancy but nevertheless an exciting addition to the pest control kete for a kaupapa like Predator Free!

Watch: Kiwi and possum detected in a landowner’s backyard at Parua Bay, Whangārei Heads

May 17, 2024