Conservation Featured

From Polar Bears to Whale snot, Intel® Pushes the Boundaries of Wildlife Research with Drone and Artificial Intelligence

Today, on World Animal Day, Intel innovation reaches new heights in science exploration, with the announcement of two successful wildlife research expeditions, powered by Intel artificial intelligence (AI) and drone technologies. In two separate collaborations with a wildlife photographer and conservationist, and nonprofit organizations Parley for the Oceans and Ocean Alliance, Intel’s innovations are powering science exploration to help better understand the world around us in safer, more efficient and less invasive ways allowing researchers to quickly act upon data that informs the longer-term health of our environment and humanity. Leveraging Intel drone and AI technologies for science exploration provides researchers with powerful tools to better inform their findings, granting them access to critical data that is otherwise difficult, costly or dangerous to obtain.

“Artificial intelligence is poised to help us solve some of our most daunting challenges by accelerating large-scale problem solving, including unleashing new scientific discovery,” said Naveen Rao, vice president and general manager of the Artificial Intelligence Products Group at Intel Corporation. “Intel is proud to bring our expertise and technology to these research efforts and aid in the mission to better understand the health of our planet and, ultimately, humanity.”

Polar Bear Exploration

Traditional methods involving helicopters for exploration are invasive and costly. Paired with the treacherous arctic conditions, including freezing temperatures and heavy winds, exploration from a boat in these remote areas is challenging even for the most experienced researchers. In addition, the steel found in most boats can cause magnetic fields that challenge drone compasses making it extremely difficult to take off and land on a moving boat. Deploying drones is an alternative which provides greater access to researchers and wild life experts.

Working with renowned wildlife photographer and conservationist, Ole Jørgen Liodden, the Intel Falcon ™ 8+ system is helping him track polar bear communities in the arctic, capturing information on their behavior patterns, which will provide wildlife and environmental researchers with accurate, more reliable data, that was captured in a safer and more efficient way. Tracking the polar bears’ behavior, breeding, feeding and migration habits helps scientists not only understand the effects of climate change on the Arctic, but also the health of the entire planet.

A recent expedition in the arctic found that polar bears did not show any signs of distress or changes in behavior when flying the Intel Falcon ™ 8+ drone approximately 50-100 meters from the animals. The thermal camera payload made it easy to spot the bears against the colder background. This progress in studying polar bears with the Intel Falcon ™ 8+ system creates new research opportunities, powering science exploration in ways never thought possible.

“Polar bears are a symbol of the Arctic. They are strong, intelligent animals,” said Ole Jørgen Liodden. “If they become extinct, there will be challenges with our entire ecosystem. Drone technology can hopefully help us get ahead of these challenges to better understand our world and preserve the earth’s environment.”

Whale Exploration

Intel is working in partnership with Parley for the Oceans and Oceans Alliance to advance scientific understanding on the health of our oceans using artificial intelligence to analyze the condition of whales and the environment. Project SnotBot uses Intel machine learning technology to help the alliance improve data analysis by running algorithms that can identify a particular whale and assess its health in real-time, regardless of the presence of confounding factors, such as the whale’s unpredictable movements and limited ocean visibility. Through this advanced technology, researchers can make more timely decisions in the field and better understand the rich biological data that whale snot holds, including DNA, stress and pregnancy hormones, viruses, bacteria and toxins. So far, the SnotBot has been used to collect spout water from blue whales, right whales, gray whales, humpbacks and orcas in oceans around the world. Artificial Intelligence gives whales a voice to share the health of our oceans and the environment.

For almost 50 years, Intel has been behind some of the most amazing technology and innovation to improve the world. Working alongside researchers to develop innovative methods to capture, process and analyze information about the environment, Intel is amplifying human capabilities and transforming the way people engage with the world.


About Parley for the Oceans
Parley for the Oceans is the global collaboration network where creators, thinkers, and leaders raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans and work together on projects that can end their destruction. Parley believes the power for change lies in the hands of the creative industries; artists, musicians, actors, filmmakers, designers, journalists, architects, inventors, and scientists have the tools to mold reality and reshape our future on this planet. With a focus on marine plastic pollution, overfishing and climate change, and deep-sea exploration, Parley leads high-caliber collaborations across industry, government and individuals to implement comprehensive strategies that ensure we are fast enough to meet the ultimate deadline, before we lose a treasure we have only just started to explore and still don’t fully understand: the oceans.

About Intel
Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) expands the boundaries of technology to make the most amazing experiences possible. Information about Intel can be found at and Intel and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries.

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