Artificial Intelligence: Whale Safe, An AI-Enabled System, Warns Ships To Slow Down

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Whale Safe has been deployed in the wake of the tragic death of Fran, the most photographed whale in California, due to a ship strike.

The Marine Mammal Center and The Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory have announced a collaboration to bring Whale Safe, a technology-based mapping and analysis system to help prevent whale-ship collisions in the San Francisco Bay Area region. (Businesswire)

Whale Safe

Blue, fin, humpback, and gray whales are vulnerable to ship strikes as they migrate and feed in areas that often overlap shipping lanes and routes. For example, more than 50% of all container ship traffic coming to and from the United States passes through West Coast ports, and by one estimate, over 80 endangered whales are killed by ship strikes off the U.S. West Coast annually.

Whale Safe utilizes an AI-enabled acoustic monitoring system, big data models and direct whale sightings recorded by trained observers and citizen scientists. The three data streams are validated, compiled and disseminated in an easily interpreted “Whale Presence Rating” ranging from low to very high whale activity. This gives the captains of large vessels the data they need to know when to slow down, which is the most effective measure to drastically reduce the number of deadly ship strikes.

Additionally, shipping report cards are created to display a ship’s or company’s cooperation with voluntary vessel speed reduction zones implemented by NOAA, EPA, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

In addition to providing an immediate benefit for monitoring ship speeds, Whale Safe data will also be saved and analyzed by the Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory and The Marine Mammal Center to help inform additional preventative safety recommendations.

“Whale-ship collisions continue to be a leading cause of death for endangered whales, but with these new kinds of monitoring technology and alert systems, fatalities have begun to decline,” said Marc Benioff, Chair & Co-CEO of Salesforce (NYSE: CRM). “This is a triple win for the planet – we save the whales, fight climate change, and promote community health by cutting air pollution.”

Related Story: AI Could Soon Decode Whales’ Talk And Let Us Chat With Them

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