The Great Barrier Reef has finally got the hero it needs. A robot.
Between climate change, unsustainable fishing and pollution, the reef has had a rough time of it. Which is why researchers have developed an AI that seeks out and kills one of the biggest threats to corals.
The AI is on a killing spree for a starfish known as the Crown of Thorns starfish, a creature which cheerfully munches through the endangered species.
They've named the robot COTSbot. It's got pretty much everything you'd want an underwater starfish killing robot to have: cameras, thrusters, an injection arm, sensors and extendable arms.
Previous efforts at saving the reef had involved divers giving starfish lethal injections, like a sort of starfish Dignitas, but the project was hampered by the size of the reef. Co-researcher Matthew Dunbabin explained the issue, saying:
There just aren’t enough divers to cover all the COTS hotspots across the Great Barrier Reef.
The robot was trained in a lab and has a 99.4% accuracy rate for recognising starfish, even able to detect a fake 3D printed replica.
Reports that the robot will be appearing in the next Avengers film are as yet unconfirmed.