A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration organization claims that humans will not be able to save the coral reefs dying at an alarming rate across the globe. In optimal conditions, human divers can still only spend three to four hours per day working underwater in restoration efforts. Tom Moore, program manager for the NOAA, stated that these conditions are very rare. This limited human effort will not be sufficient to halt the collapse of crucial ecosystems that are suffering as a result of human pollution.
Half of the world’s coral reefs have died, and the rest are expected to follow suit this century. These ecosystems host 25 percent of the ocean’s biodiversity, support fisheries that feed hundreds of millions of people and contribute billions to the global economy. This is where robotics and AI could play a crucial role in environmental sciences, and organizations are working on developing new technologies that will have similar capabilities to human divers, but be able to improve efficiency tenfold.