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Artificial intelligence will help wind farms to kill birds selectively



It’s no secret that wind farms, praised by advocates of clean energy, directly harm wildlife. Even if we leave aside the deforestation, which is carried out in some places for the installation of wind turbines, and the fate of the worms, which are driven to the surface by vibration, the problem of death of birds and bats remains.

For example, birds of prey, when searching for prey, tilt their heads down and do not look straight ahead. For them, a collision with the blades of a wind generator is very likely. And bats can die without even colliding with a windmill. The fact is that the generator creates a zone of low pressure, once in which, the animal dies from internal hemorrhage.

Smart cameras capable of detecting and recognizing birds of prey, such as eagles, could help reduce mortality from collisions with wind turbine blades, according to new research published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

The study evaluated the effectiveness of the IdentiFlight camera system, which detects flying objects, classifies them, and decides whether individual turbines should be temporarily suspended to avoid a potential collision. The testing ground for the cameras was the Top of the World power plant in Wyoming.

The researchers compared the number of eagles killed at the Top of the World site with the IdentiFlight system and at a cameraless control site located 15 km from the first. The mortality rate on the Top of the World was 82% lower, which allowed researchers to conclude that IdentiFlight is highly effective. Scientists recommend using IdentiFlight in combination with other measures to more completely eliminate the risk of bird death.

The developers of IdentiFlight themselves describe the operation of the system as follows:

The IdentiFlight system combines artificial intelligence with high-precision optical technology to detect eagles and other protected bird species. Neural network software and technology process images to determine position in space, speed, trajectory and protected species of interest – all within seconds of detection. IdentiFlight towers operate as a self-contained system that detects and classifies objects and restricts the operation of certain turbines that could pose a hazard to birds. The system detects the bird up to one kilometer away, classifying it as a protected species such as an eagle (or not) in real time. IdentiFlight towers can be positioned to cover multiple turbines in a single wind farm. When installed as an overlapping network, the degree of protection is increased.

IdentiFlight has 47 million bird images of protected species in its database, making it more accurate to minimize energy waste due to turbine shutdown. In other words, artificial intelligence will help wind farms to kill birds selectively, without stopping turbines in vain, if a living creature flying towards man-made death is not listed in the Red Book.

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