After discussing my frustration with solving the shark problem for Byron Bay a fellow inventor Ted Bye (his LinkIn page) suggested I have a look at LIDAR (see wikipedia). Research has begun and it looks promising. After a considerable but failed investment in sonar based shark detection and recently a very complex shadow detection system which detects large shark shaped shadows passing over the sensor (also looking like its failing) LIDAR represents all the hall marks of a good possible solution.
The assumption I’m targeting is a single short to medium range LIDAR lighthouse nearby main swimming areas that regularly scans the area looking for shark-like subjects then using deep learning to tune into a serious detection system.

The specs for the LIDAR system would be something like
  • 300m surface reach with 3-4m water penetration
  • Reliable scanning in aerated in shore foam and shore break water
  • Scan rate approximating 10 seconds for the complete continuous scan area.. namely 0.5*300m^2*pi=142,200m squared (phew pretty big area)
  • Minimum 120m surface scan range (22,752m square) still huge

  • Can animals see green laser spectrum?
  • How much heat is associated with the beam.
  • Can the LIDAR do damage to humans at close range.
  • How much will this thing cost?
  • Can it be reduced to a cheap package available to all coastal councils?
  • Can it run on solar?

Please comment below if you have suggestions, anecdotes or encouragement to share or want to offer help. If you have just negative opinion, then please keep them to yourselves… this task is hard enough as it is. 🙂 Ric

Below is an explanation of the first attempt at a shark detection system… which turned out to be ineffectual for multiple reasons .
Chief among the problems is that according to the CSIRO sharks enter the surfline and then frequently follow the Surfline up the beach never going into the calmer waters beyond the shore break. This makes sonar and even sight detection almost impossible.