In an effort to protect coral reefs, this university is turning to environmental robots. Queensland University of Technology (QUT) developed eco-bots to scan the bottom of the ocean for Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (COTS) and prevent further damage in the Great Barrier Reef. The aptly named COTSbot uses real-time image monitoring to protect coral reefs in the area, which is less expensive and more straightforward compared to human operations.
The COTSbot follows starfish because they feed on the vulnerable coral. When they become overpopulated, the coral biodiversity is affected, which in turn has a harmful effect on other fish. The COTSbot is therefore designed to give a lethal dose of salt injection to any COTS it finds and, through human correspondence, is confirmed to actually be a COTS.