High-tech drones help count Qld koalas

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by Scott Bailey

Drones equipped with with artificial intelligence are being deployed to help manage southeast Queensland’s dwindling koala population.

Researchers from Queensland’s University of Technology have developed a drone-driven program using thermal imaging and statistical modelling that can quickly scan an area for its koala population to help with better planning.

The project relies on picking up the heat signature on the animal, and can scan four hectares of land 90 minutes quicker than humans. It’s also more accurate, given the marsupials are particularly hard to spot in the canopy.

“It allows us to better estimate and allows better planning with more information about the number of koalas in an area,” project leader Felipe Gonzalez said.

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