Ripper takes on Koala Count Challenge

Seventeen small businesses will share in more than $1.5 million in NSW Government funding to develop innovative solutions to well-defined problems, such as connectivity in remote areas, water purification and waste reduction associated with personal protective equipment.

Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Alister Henskens said the Small Business Innovation and Research program was helping local businesses solve long-standing problems, while boosting jobs, products and services in high-tech industries.

“NSW has great business innovators and we want to harness that talent. The first phase of this program will back small businesses to develop devices and systems that have the potential to benefit our people, the environment and our economy,” Mr Henskens said.

“We are investing in a range of innovative projects which include drone-surveying technology, navigation systems for people who are vision impaired and advanced filtration systems, all designed to meet specific challenges in NSW.”

The five challenge areas outlined under the program included Connectivity, Hyperlocal Navigation, Koala Count, Personal Protective Equipment and Water Purification.

Minister for Small Business Eleni Petinos said businesses will receive up to $100,000 to undertake three-month feasibility studies into their proposed solutions.
“This program is harnessing the power of local innovation and supporting small businesses by investing in ideas to create jobs and change lives,” Ms Petinos said.

NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte said the program has received a huge response from local innovators.

“We hosted webinars which were attended by over 250 local businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers. The response has been overwhelming and shows the strength and depth of local talent,” Professor Durrant-Whyte said.

Proof-of-concept grants of up to $1 million each will be available to businesses that complete a successful feasibility study. A new set of challenges and further feasibility grants will be offered later this year.

2021 SBIR Feasibility Study Grant Recipients

Koala Count Challenge: to detect and quantify koala populations in NSW for the benefit of Koala preservation.

  • Biodiversity Monitoring Services will undertake a feasibility study to develop a bio-inspired acoustic sensor and processing approach using an event-based spectrum analyser to deliver a low-power, high-efficiency solution for sensing acoustic signals associated with koalas.
  • Ninox Robotics will undertake a feasibility study to develop and integrate improved, specialised thermal cameras into long-range drones to detect koalas over large areas.
  • Ripper Group will undertake a feasibility study to develop comprehensive operation support approaches, methods and resources for state-wide surveys of koala populations.
  • Wize Dynamics will undertake a feasibility study into the development and suitability of artificial intelligence to identify individual koalas from audio recordings.

Assisting with NSW’s Koala Count Challenge is one of the many Commercial Services that Ripper Corp’s specialist team offer. Read more about how Ripper integrates drone technology safely and effectively:

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