CSIRO, Microsoft announce SpaceCows project

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 14 September, 2021

CSIRO, Microsoft announce SpaceCows project

CSIRO has teamed up with Microsoft to use AI and space technologies to help Indigenous rangers manage feral herds on their land in northern Australia.

The partners will develop an AI and space technology-powered digital twin of the landscape to help mitigate the damage to biodiversity caused by feral cattle and buffaloes.

Under the SpaceCows project, the partners aim to turn the destructive pests into economic, environmental and cultural opportunities for Indigenous communities across the region.

The digital twin will combine terrain and weather data with data collected from GPS-tagged animals to help predict the movement of the animals and provide insight into their location, according to CSIRO research scientist Dr Andrew Hoskins.

“The biggest challenge for feral animal management is locating the animals across sometimes inaccessible terrain. Microsoft’s technologies harness data from tagged animals and low-Earth-orbit satellites, enabling us to see the landscape and forecast the movement of feral herds,” Dr Hoskins said.

“These insights are critical for Indigenous rangers to determine the best time and place to ethically muster or to decide if an alternative population control measure is needed.”

Machine learning models will be modified based on feedback from rangers on the ground. These models will be use to help rangers make informed, real-time decisions about managing feral animals and allocating resources.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/maxbunny

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