Providence Project: protecting biodiversity using data

June 5th, 2018

Project Providence

The CSIRO Scope has just published a full story on the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group team’s recent trip to the Brazilian part of the Amazon Forest, as part of the ‘Project Providence’.

“Our long-running project in the Amazon Rainforest, ‘Project Providence’, is entering its final phase. We’ve teamed up scientists from Brazil and Spain to deploy a remote monitoring system, and our experts have just stepped off the plane from a trip testing the deployment of the network.

Phase one of Providence commenced in December 2016 – the team was granted nearly $2 million in research funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the iconic American foundation established by Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore and his wife Betty. The plan was to use our technological innovation to monitor biodiversity in the Amazon on a scale that hasn’t been seen before, and use multiple technologies including acoustics, visual and thermal imaging to do it.

Providence will involve a continuous monitoring system that will act as the eyes and ears of the Amazonian forest by using a wireless network of sensors in the Amazon to monitor the activity of species including jaguars, monkeys, bats, birds, reptiles and even dolphins.

The project is multi-institutional – we’re partnering with the Mamiraua Institute (Brazil), the Federal University of Amazonas (Brazil), and the Sense of Silence Foundation of the Technical University of Catalonia (Spain).

Our most recent trip was to deploy and flick the on switch on our sensors. Dr Paulo Borges, the project leader for our component of the partnership, said “there are ten locations, each several kilometres away from each other. We’re in the process of getting these nodes up and running, and we’re already receiving data from the network.

The red robot and our complex sensor network are two excellent examples of how we use science, technology and engineering to solve pressing problems. In this case, the serious challenge of biodiversity in the Amazon can be partly met through collaborative efforts, and thorough, real-world testing”.

Read the full story on CSIRO Scope.

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