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Remote controlled aquaculture project launched

Staff Writer | October 31, 2017
A $2 million initiative which focuses on developing technologies that give farmers the ability to manage their farm and stock remotely has been launched in New Zealand.
Remote aquaculture
Seafood   $1 billion in sales by 2025
The two-year project is being led by Dr Chris Cornelisen, Coastal and Freshwater Group Manager at the Cawthron Institute, who is looking forward to bringing together a multi-disciplinary science team.

"The Precision Farming for Aquaculture project will combine cutting-edge research in sensing technologies, lasers, and artificial intelligence with practical, applied research to provide solutions to the aquaculture industry," said Dr Cornelisen.

Research into efficient and cost-effective underwater communications also aims to unlock the future potential of untethered sensors, drones and robotics.

There are unique challenges to farming in the ocean. Farms must be physically accessed by boat, with stock health and condition manually recorded.

High costs and delicate equipment are barriers to implementing new technology; this project will innovate to reduce these obstacles.

"We’ll be developing new chemical sensors that can identify the amount of food and nutrients in the water, and imaging sensors that use artificial intelligence to let farmers ‘see’ their farm and stock condition in real time from a computer or mobile device.

"The aquaculture industry aims to reach $1 billion in sales by 2025. Technology that promotes sustainability, efficiency, and the ability to farm further offshore will play a significant role in achieving this target."