Dear friends: there is now a robot that can kill starfish underwater by hunting them down and injecting them with poison. The starfish in question is the Crown of Throns Sea Star, a destructive seadweller that has been hurting coral reefs for a while. They are so pervasive that they create massive populations – 100,000 per kilometer – in a few years.
So now there’s a robot that swims around and kills them. The COTSBot from the Queensland University of Technology can identify the starfish using machine learning and low power computers. Because most of the hunting technology is built into the robot the COTSBot doesn’t have to connect to the surface as it hunts and when it’s ready to exterminate it simply injects a chemical called thiosulfate-citrate-bile salts-sucrose agar that destroys the fish, resulting in “discolored and necrotic skin, ulcerations, loss of body turgor, accumulation of colourless mucus, loss of spines [and] large, open sores that expose the internal organs.”
It’s taken about ten years to get this far and it can’t quite kill all of the starfish all the time – only enough to make it easier for predators and humans to kill the remaining ones. In the end, however, these starfish are doomed. You can read more about the COTSBOT at QUT’s website and simply sit back and wait until these autonomous hunter/killers learned to search for humans.