Artificial intelligence project is 'future of UK science'

A flagship LJMU project is among a select few in the UK showcased in a new Institute of Physics report.

The report "Physics: Investing in our Future” is a bid to the Government for extra support for homegrown science – one of the true British success stories.

It recommends the UK Government acts now to provide a stable funding environment in which discovery science can flourish.

Among the select case studies it tells the story of Conservation AI (link to REF Impact Video) – a REF Impact project run by Dr Carl Chalmers and Professor Paul Fergus (Computing & Mathematics), Professor Steven Longmore (ARI) and Professor Serge Wich (EGS).

Conservation AI is helping to tackle the crucial problem of rapid biodiversity loss using drones and machine-learning. (


The Institute of Physics cites: “To help tackle the crucial problem of rapid biodiversity loss, researchers at Liverpool John Moores University have developed an innovative method of monitoring animal populations with drones to efficiently inform conservation strategies.

“The technology, which can make animal surveys up to 100 times faster, uses detection systems originally used in astrophysics to interpret thermal-infrared astronomy data. The research successfully demonstrated that astrophysics techniques can be adapted for conservation biology, allowing for the high-precision interpretation of thermal camera data from drones.

“Combined with machine learning techniques, the technology can monitor endangered species, such as orangutans in Malaysia, and has caused conservation agencies across the globe, including WWF, to review their animal monitoring strategies.

“The speed and efficiency at which surveys can be conducted, especially when compared to previous labour-intensive methods, saves significant money and time, directly contributing to slowing down biodiversity loss.

“The project has significant public reach, and is expected to have long-term and significant impacts, for example via the implementation of a national framework and regulations for drone operations in Madagascar.

how a drone identifies animals from the sky.


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