Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Spoor

How can AI make wind energy safer for birds?

Agriculture & Energy

A computer vision system models flight paths and monitors species, collisions, and near-misses

Spotted: Analysts predict that “2024 will bring a long-awaited recovery for the global wind energy market” following a volatile 2023 that saw markets contract in China and the United States. Norwegian technology company Spoor is seeking to help keep birds safe among such growth.

Spoor combines AI modelling, image processing, and computer vision to monitor, track, and classify birds flying and living near offshore wind farms. The system uses high-resolution thermal spectrum cameras to enable nighttime monitoring and can detect individual birds, as well as flocks up to two kilometres away. The company’s custom algorithm can learn to identify species of birds specific to each location. That helps conservationists monitor the general health and activity of wildlife in certain areas and better track threatened species.

The system uses off-the-shelf camera systems to keep hardware requirements to a minimum and installation as simple as possible. Three-dimensional monitoring of bird flight paths supports planners in deciding on locations for offshore wind farms, and Spoor’s technology works with both cloud and edge computing systems. Real-time analysis is available, and the data collected provides operational managers with the information necessary to determine what deterrents would be most useful and to comply with new regulations that are developed as the industry continues to grow.

In 2023, Spoor began testing its technology at a pilot site in the Aberdeen Bay Offshore Wind Farm in Scotland. The British Trust for Ornithology is providing independent scientific validation, and initial results are expected around June 2024.

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Written By: Keely Khoury



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