New shark-detecting and alerting app is in it's final stages of field trials and is set to lead shark management in a new direction
New shark-detecting and alerting app is in it's final stages of field trials and is set to lead shark management in a new direction Supplied

Drone technology to be used in new shark alert app

A NEW app for surfers and beach-goers will be able to spot sharks through drone use.

Professional surfer turned business entrepreneur Sarah Beardmore is set to launch the new Australian shark spotting technology via Dorsal.

The app is free to download.

After months of training the artificial intelligence software to detect sharks using drones, the Southern Cross University business alumnus says Dorsal and new technical partner Onboard Smarts were in the final stages of field trials.

"Using drones in real-time means shark alerts can be pushed out to more than a quarter of a million existing Dorsal users, and the natural extension of this will be to use the drone itself to alert those in the ocean and guide lifesavers quickly to the area of concern,” Ms Beardmore said.

The technology includes using a live feed to assist with beach safety and shark management, and will provide more efficient water safety strategies.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries has shown support for the innovative solutions and technology.

Ms Beardmore said thousands of hours had been spent training the AI technology to recognise the difference between sharks and other marine life, humans and jet skis.

"We have the capabilities to train the AI to recognise just about anything.”

Ms Beardmore co-founded the app Dorsal in 2015, now the world's leading community-based shark alerting and reporting service, after she studied a business degree online through Southern Cross University while competing on the World Qualifying Surf tour. 

"The Dorsal app is no longer just about crowd-sourced reporting, but this partnership means we now have a whole supported content management system to help manage and analyse the information.

"Reports come from official channels as well as public sightings which are mediated before releasing to the app.”