COTSbot in Great Barrier Reef: Robot kills invasive starfish (VIDEO).

A Robot Stalking the Great Barrier Reef Is on a Mission to Kill (Video)

A Robot Stalking the Great Barrier Reef Is on a Mission to Kill (Video)

Slate in motion.
Sept. 20 2015 1:33 PM

Terminator, Invasive Starfish Edition

A robot in the Great Barrier Reef is on a mission to kill.

cotsbot

Screenshot via Slate.

Crown-of-thorns Starfish, or COTS, are estimated to be responsible for an nearly 40 percent of the reef’s total decline in coral cover. Human divers have trouble keeping up with them, so the Queensland University of Technology has developed the COTSbot to control the crown-of-thorns starfish population. The autonomous drone could wipe out an estimated 200 starfish per 8 hour shift, using computer programs to navigate as well as distinguish between troublesome starfish and innocent coral-dwelling creatures.

This all sounds like an ideal plan—as long as COTSbot doesn't figure out humans have been known to be pretty destructive toward coral reefs as well.

Jim Festante is an actor/writer in Los Angeles and regular video contributor to Slate. He is the author of the Image Comics miniseries The End Times of Bram and Ben.