On Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the Crown-of-thorns starfish destroys large swathes of coral
and threatens the overall health of the reef. This starfish is proving difficult to find and eradicate with conventional methods.
Queensland University of Technology researchers have created a hunter-killer robot – the COTSbot – that's designed to automatically search out and destroy these aquatic pests.
the COTSbot is fitted with stereoscopic cameras to provide it with depth perception, along with
five individual stability thrusters, GPS navigation, pitch-and-roll sensors, and the weapon that gives it its killer status: A pneumatic injection arm is used to give a COTS a lethal dose of bile salts.
If the robot is unsure that something is actually a COTS, it takes a photo of the object to be
later verified by a human, and that human feedback is incorporated into the robot's memory bank.
The robot has been trained to think for itself over a period of six months.