This underwater drone aims to protect Great Barrier Reef by injecting coral-eating starfish with vinegar | GBRI


A team of researchers from Queensland University of Technology has developed an underwater drone that is capable of protecting the Great Barrier Reef from bleaching, pollution and coral-eating starfish.

The drone named RangerBot has been trained to detect crown-of-thorns starfish with 99% accuracy and can inject the coral-eating starfish with vinegar or bile salts, both deadly to the invasive predator.

Professor Matthew Dunbabin said RangerBot was not only autonomous but could also stay under water three times longer than a human diver and operate in all weather conditions.

“It’s an impressive piece of technology, [it’s] also deliberately low cost to allow production to be scaled up once the next level of operational testing is completed and all the necessary approvals are in place,” he said.

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