Qrious recognised for innovative project using AI to aid conservation

Qrious has been named one of the top three Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partners for Data, Analytics and Machine Learning across Australia and New Zealand.

The AWS nomination comes off the back of innovative work using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help the Department of Conservation (DOC) save New Zealand’s endangered kiwi.

“We’re really proud to be involved in protecting the kiwi. The tool we’ve developed could have a transformative effect for other conservation efforts in New Zealand. Being recognised by AWS for this project is a real credit to the team that have built the solution.” says Qrious CEO Nathalie Morris.

As part of their kiwi conservation programme, DOC placed microphones in Fiordland habitats. These microphones recorded thousands of hours of audio that then needed to be listened to for kiwi calls - which is more difficult than it sounds. The audio included ambient forest sounds, and noises from other birds, animals and insects, masking kiwi calls.

DOC approached Qrious to develop a solution that would automatically process and identify kiwi calls within the recorded audio faster and more accurately than human-based approaches.

With the progression of AI and image recognition technology, Qrious Data Scientists used AWS technology to transform DOC’s audio data into visual spectrograms. They then built an image recognition model that would automatically identify kiwi calls within the visuals.

The model now has an accuracy rate of 80% and can save DOC thousands of hours normally spent listening and analysing. With the concept now proven, DOC can also look to extend this solution to other at-risk species or protected animals.

“The results are excellent, and DOC can now consider integrating the machine learning model into its wider monitoring programmes, and this model will have significant impact on our efforts to help save our endangered birds,” says Gavin Walker, Chief Architect DOC.

“While artificial intelligence and kiwi may not sound like a natural match, this project is a great example of the power of sophisticated data analytics, and how AI can be applied to many contexts and meet different needs,” says Morris.

To learn more about how the Department of Conservation and Qrious are working together to save the endangered kiwi, read the case study.

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