"It looks like a tiny yellow submarine, but this underwater drone is on a mission to kill," reports ABC. Specifically, to kill the Starfish that are destroying coral on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. An anonymous reader quotes ABC: In a bid to eradicate the pest, Queensland researchers have developed world-first robots to administer a lethal injection to the starfish using new technology... Researcher Matt Dunbabin said the technology was 99.4 per cent accurate in delivering a toxic substance only harmful to the starfish.... Divers have played a big role in helping to combat the starfish, but Professor Dunbabin said the robot would take the efforts to the next level. "Divers currently control certain areas, but there are not enough divers to actually make a difference on the scale of the reef," he said. The drone can also monitor and gather huge amounts of data about coral bleaching, water quality and pollution. "RangerBot will be designed to stay underwater almost three times longer than a human diver, gather vastly more data, map expansive underwater areas at scales not previously possible, and operate in all conditions and all times of the day or night," according to Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology. The starfish-killing robots were partially funded by Google (through their Google.org Impact Challenge program to fund and support nonprofit innovators), reports The Drive. One study had found the reef's coral cover declined 50% between 1985 and 2012, "with nearly half of that drop resulting from the coral-destroying starfish species."
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