Poole Harbour goes live with an Artificial Intelligence world first

Poole Harbour goes live with an Artificial Intelligence world first

The first phase of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council and Poole Harbour Commissioners’ innovative AI water quality sensing project, in partnership with UK AI company UnifAI Technology, has gone live this month.

The project forms part of the work that BCP Council’s Economic Development team are delivering as a partner on the Interreg 2 Seas ‘Smart Ports Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development (SPEED) Programme’ which aims to develop the conditions for a leading smart ports innovation.

In early October, Dan Byles from UnifAI went to sea with the Poole Harbour Commissioners Navigation Aids Team to install a series of remote, wireless sensors on existing navigation buoys and markers across the harbour, including the oyster beds.

Designed to be easy to install, self-contained and require little maintenance, the wireless sensors regularly measure several key variables in the water and transmit the data automatically to the Cloud. UnifAI’s artificial intelligence then interprets this data and provides real-time insights into the water quality. It does this by detecting a wide range of indicators for potential pollutants such as bacterial build up, sewage, fertiliser run-off and industrial discharges. These can be harmful for aquatic ecosystems, creating a build-up of algae which can be detrimental to water quality.

UnifAI’s artificial intelligence has been trained with 83 million lines of water quality data from the Environment Agency and other sources. For Poole Harbour, UnifAI has used local sample data to train the AI for local conditions, and will continue to train and improve the AI with additional live data over the course of the project.

This project is ground-breaking and represents the first live deployment of a network of low-cost remote and continuous sensors using artificial intelligence to monitor the health of a protected water ecosystem such as Poole Harbour, anywhere in the world.