Optus to test using network for shark alerts

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net

Australia's Optus wants to make sure it's safe to go back in the water, announcing an innovative shark detection R&D project that will make use of its mobile network.

The SingTel subsidiary revealed it has teamed up with Shark Mitigation Systems for a research project involving using sonar to detect shark-sized objects in coastal areas.

Shark Mitigation Systems has developed a sonar technology called “Clever Buoy”, which can be programmed to learn the details of what it is designed to detect. It can differentiate between the length of an object and its propulsion through the water using sonar signatures.

Optus plans to use its mobile network to facilitate communication with Clever Buoy systems – if they detect a possible shark, they can relay a message to lifeguards on the beach.

The research project will trial the feasibility of the system and - if successful – aim to develop Clever Buoy into a commercial product by mid-2015.

Shark Mitigation Systems director Hamish Jolly said the system could potentially help researchers learn more about shark behaviors, which could in turn help improve beach safety even further.

Around 170 of the 400 species of sharks inhabit Australian waters, and there have been 892 shark attacks in the nation since records began in 1791

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