Team earns ‘Best Paper Award’ for developing AI model to track waterfowl // Mizzou Engineering

February 28, 2023

An example of an image the team used to teach AI to autonomously depend waterfowl.

An interdisciplinary Mizzou workforce acquired a “Best Paper Award” immediately after establishing technique that can instantly discover specific birds in photos of waterfowl flocks.

Yang Zhang, a PhD student in computer system science, introduced the do the job at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Worldwide Conference on Cognitive Device Intelligence in December. Co-authors incorporated Professor Yi Shang and collaborators from the Faculty of Natural Methods and the Missouri Section of Conservation (MDC).

“I was shocked, but it was remarkable,” Zhang claimed. “I’m grateful for Dr. Shang’s instruction and for the other authors. Teamwork was incredibly important.”

Shang has led the project for the previous 4 several years in hopes of aiding conservation officials a lot more proficiently track waterfowl populations. Traditionally, the office has monitored waterfowl by manually counting them in the area. In 2019, MDC awarded Shang funding to develop procedures to autonomously detect and classify birds.

Shang and his college students use visuals captured by drones to prepare equipment understanding versions to discover waterfowl. Whilst artificial intelligence can understand a single chicken in a picture with ease, it struggles when an aerial photograph has a flock of hundreds of birds along with tree branches, vegetation and other objects in the qualifications. For this challenge, MDC also deployed decoys in some scenarios to examine the performance of  the AI detectors.

Portrait of Yi Shang
Yi Shang

“We use drones to gather visuals of waterfowl all through distinctive components of the point out, significantly in some of the parks and conservation parts,” Shang mentioned. “Students have taken a great deal of excursions, going into the area and traveling drones. We developed our own software program to plan flight trajectories forward of time so we can obtain visuals at different altitudes and below distinctive ailments. We have collected a pretty extensive knowledge established.”

Learners then labeled the images manually and fed the facts into the device learning pipeline to educate detection and classification models. Now, the process can establish birds with about a 90{2c093b5d81185d1561e39fad83afc6c9d2e12fb4cca7fd1d7fb448d4d1554397} accuracy amount. The upcoming stage will be coaching the device to determine distinct species of birds in photos.

Shang’s crew has also made related deep studying systems for other apps, like determining invasive crops and wetland habitats. Very last 12 months, his pupils took initially location in an Ameren-sponsored Plant Recognition College Problem to determine crops and trees in rights of way in aerial images. Zhang presented results from that opposition at the IEEE convention in December, as effectively. In addition, his students competed in the iWildCam 2022 level of competition, which is aspect of the FGVC9 workshop at CVPR 2022 and is sponsored by Wildlife Insights. Once more, Zhang’s group finished first.

“There is a nationwide group in the conservation room executing this variety of operate,” Shang explained. “People from across the region are speaking about how to use distant sensing and imagery from drones, satellites and planes to effectively establish objects. We’re developing and creating types that can be utilized to a assortment of serious-planet cases.”

Other authors who contributed to the paper were being: Shiqi Wang, a PhD university student in computer system science Zhenduo Zhai, a PhD student in electrical and laptop or computer engineering Reid Viegut, a master’s college student in natural resources and Elisabeth Webb, associate cooperative professor in the College of Normal Resources. Andrew Raedeke and Joel Sartwell from the Missouri Office of Conservation had been also recognized.

Interested in applying AI to true-environment situations? Study far more about electrical engineering and computer science at Mizzou.