In the universe, all life as we know it comes from the ocean. If the ocean dies, so do humans. The ocean is the main regulator for the climate, absorbing most of the sun’s heat and have produced more than 75% of the oxygen we breath. Coral reefs are the most important ecosystem on the planet as they provide a safe habitat for marine life to reproduce. It is projected that almost all coral will be dead by 2050. We must act very quickly to explore, map and protect the world’s coral. One of the biggest challenge we have today is that we do not have a reliable, low-cost solution to create coral reef map so that we can monitor the corals and take necessary action.
"Scoutbot" is a semi-autonomous boat that is targeted to map shallow coral reefs and monitor marine protected areas. It has both remote control (RC) capacity as well as route planning with GPS waypoints.
It is the combination of 4 major innovations that radically upgrades the state of the art techniques :
- Diver -> Ocean Drone
- Quadrat -> Laser Quadrat
- Hand stitched 2D Map -> AI stitched 3D Map of Coral Reef
- Computer Vision and AI to classify corals
Our aim is to be
10X more Accurate, 50X Faster, 200X Cheaper than current technology to explore, map, and protect coral reefs all around the world.
Collaborators: Cesar JUNG-HARADA, Ken and Joe CHEW, Eddie YUNG, Sidhant GUPTA, Rohak SINGHAL, Nitin PENDKAR, Kaveesh SIVARAJ, Shoyu KANEKO, Priyank SHARMA, Ethan BUI, Justin GRACE, Dooho HAN, Gökçe ÖZER, Katherine CHIN. Prof KS LUI, Edmund LAM, Chicky YADAV BHAVNANI, Kamakshi YADAV BHAVNANI. Special thanks to the villagers from Abra de Ilog, Ecotone Resilience, Professor Helen T. YAP and Prof Maricor SORIANO, University of the Philippines. Prof. K.S LUI and Prof. Edmund LAM for their support with this project. This project was possible due to contributions by the Gallant HO Experiential Learning Fund at the University of Hong Kong, Green Orange, Maker Family, Scoutbots and MakerBay.
Underwater crosshair lasers form a “Laser Quadrat” that replaces the conventional mechanical quadrat.
A high-resolution 2D map is produced.
3D map (cloud points) is produced.
Coral Reef Mapping using Ocean Drones and Laser Quadrat
One of the biggest challenges with regard to coral conservation is that reef mapping is currently carried out manually, with a group a divers manually moving and placing a large PVC quadrat for every unit area of the reef and then photographing each unit separately. [U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 08401].