COTSbot

COTSbot is the world’s first robot designed to seek out and control the Great Barrier Reef’s crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), which are responsible for an estimated 40 per cent of the reef’s total decline in coral cover.

Integrating state-of-the-art robotic vision and classification algorithms with experience in, and technologies for, shallow coastal water robotic monitoring, COTSbot also provides a flexible tool that empowers a range of stakeholders to scale current eradication programs and protection of reefs such as the Great Barrier Reef.



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David H.
David H.
August 20, 2020 2:27 pm

This has got to be the most controversial robot I have ever had to talk to people about. Almost every time I talked about it with anyone all they heard was “killer robot”.

Context didn’t matter, capability didn’t matter, use didn’t matter. Simply the words “killer robot”.

I think this is a shame because to anyone who didn’t see it that way, or could be convinced of its usefulness thought it was impressive what we were trying to do to help save the reef.

I see this project, its successes and the public’s knee-jerk reaction to it as a good indicator that robots have too much of a bad rep and we need to keep shaping public perception about it.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  David H.
August 21, 2020 10:33 am

I have lost count of times I had to correct journos and say ‘It’s helping *control* COTS, not eradicate them”. David, I did field a lot of calls from the US asking if we could adapt COTSbot for Florida’s lion fish invasion.

Last edited 9 months ago by Kate
Katrina Tune
Katrina Tune
Admin
Reply to  David H.
August 21, 2020 3:22 pm

Wow David… I didn’t even realise this was an issue!

Dim
Dim
August 21, 2020 1:39 pm

The COTSbot is one of my favourite examples of our research making a difference on an important problem, how great to have a robot that is helping to protect our coral reef 🙂