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Planet Care

52: Artificial Intelligence birdwatcher

Problem:

In 2016, a first-of-its-kind study estimated that the hundreds of utility-scale solar farms around the US may kill nearly 140,000 birds annually.

Solution:

An artificial intelligence platform dedicated to studying avian behaviour at large-scale solar facilities around the US.
In 2020, the US Department of Energy awarded a team of researchers at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois a $1.3 million contract to develop the platform.

Using and adapting a camera system designed to monitor pedestrians and cars, the team is planning to mount the AI bird watcher on top of a solar panel. In this way they plan to gather data to help help ornithologists unravel the mystery of why our feathered friends are dying in droves at solar farms.

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