Is the use of Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence an appropriate means to locate debris in the ocean without harming aquatic wildlife?

Zoe Moorton, Zeyneb Kurt, Wai Lok Woo

Research output: Working paperPreprint

Abstract

With the global issue of plastic debris ever expanding, it is about time that the technology industry stepped in. This study aims to assess whether deep learning can successfully distinguish between marine life and man-made debris underwater. The aim is to find if we are safely able to clean up our oceans with Artificial Intelligence without disrupting the delicate balance of the aquatic ecosystems. The research explores the use of Convolutional Neural Networks from the perspective of protecting the ecosystem, rather than primarily collecting rubbish. We did this by building a custom-built, deep learning model, with an original database including 1,644 underwater images and used a binary classification to sort synthesised material from aquatic life. We concluded that although it is possible to safely distinguish between debris and life, further exploration with a larger database and stronger CNN structure has the potential for much more promising results.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

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