Real-time rip current identification tool uses AI and deep learning

Deeplearning ripcurrent
Deeplearning ripcurrent

Rip currents are narrow, fast-moving segments of water that travel away from the shore. They can reach speeds of 2.5 meters per second, which is quicker than the fastest Olympic swimmer.

NIWA and Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) have developed a state-of-the-art rip current identification tool using  (AI) and deep learning. The tool showed around 90% accuracy detecting  in videos and images in trials. The work is published in the journal Remote Sensing.

NIWA coastal scientists Dr. Christo Rautenbach and Neelesh Rampal say the technology has been tested on a large variety of images from different coastal settings and they hope will ultimately be used by beachgoers to alert them of rip currents.

“We hope that by using cameras and drones at beaches, the tool will be able to scan  and notify people of the presence of rip currents. Even knowledgeable surf lifeguards can struggle identifying rips, depending on the beach and environmental conditions. As well as this, some beaches are remote or really large, so surf lifeguards can use all the extra help they can get,” said Dr. Rautenbach.