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AI & robots on the reef

The Reef Guardians research team has taken on the ambitious task to make near real time automated reef health assessment a reality! We have partnered with FIU, Microsoft AI Earth, Manitou Foundation, ESRI, Powervision, Paralenz, and other ground breaking technology companies. Our goal is to create the best practices for gathering photogrammetric* data that is an essential component necessary for AI to perform the task of assessing the health of our reefs and to do so worldwide.

   RGH is the recipient of grant funding  from both Microsoft and Manitou Foundation for this research!

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With the help of Marine Biologist Terry Lilley, we gathered over 7500 images of over 14 different coral species on the North shore of Kauai.

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*Photogrammetric images are photos and/ or video that contain size and location information of the subject matter. In our case that would be different corals. This data will fuel the AI software for auto recognition and allow ROR to track a comparative history of these corals. Are they healthy growing or declining? These are important questions and ROR will help to determine their health on a regular basis that is quick, accurate and cost effective.

Drones will be deployed that will be pre-programmed for precise and repeatable GPS based navigation as they collect images of targeted reefs and their corals.


An ROR toolkit will be assembled and made available for researchers, citizen scientists, local ocean based community organisations, ngo's; local, state and federal ocean related agencies to become a global member of the ROR community. All processed data will be shared via universal  ARCGIS™ platform thanks to a generous software grant from ESRI.

Read the full Robots on the Reef plan! (Access required)

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Take a peak at the technology!

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