Fujitsu ‘Digital Owl’ project trials drones and video analytics to identify threatened plant species


News facts:

  • Fujitsu is working with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage ‘Saving our Species’ program to help identify threatened species of plants in NSW bushland.
  • Use of advanced Fujitsu video analytics, high performance computing and drone technology.
  • Successful trial reveals location of a plant species threatened with extinction.
  • Project identifies potential significant savings in helicopter fuel and charter, as well as emissions.

Fujitsu has announced the completion of a successful trial to identify threatened plant species in New South Wales.

Working with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) ‘Saving our Species’ program, the ‘Digital Owl’ project uses Fujitsu’s high-performance computing, video analytics and drone technology to capture and analyse video information over a broad geographic area. The information can then be used to help locate endangered species for management, and invasive plant species for eradication purposes.

The project was successfully trialed recently in remote bushland at Mount Dangar, NSW. The trial resulted in successful identification of the endangered plant species, Acacia dangarensis and Senecio linearifolius var. dangarensis, both of which are feared to be facing extinction, but were found growing in the wild.

NSW Environment Minister, Gabrielle Upton commented on the initiative’s ability to identify and monitor threatened species more effectively and cost-efficiently: “In NSW alone there are approximately 1,000 plant and animal species under threat of extinction. Saving these species is crucial to the ongoing health of the various ecosystems in NSW. However, monitoring such a broad area can be prohibitively expensive, especially when considering the cost of chartering and fueling helicopters. It’s exciting to be using new drone technology with detailed layers of analytics behind them to get more accurate information including maps of otherwise inaccessible areas.”

Lee Stewart, Head of Sustainability, Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand said, “This project is aligned with Fujitsu’s vision of using technology to help provide sustainable outcomes for our customers and society. It’s great to see our technology playing an important role in helping to save a species from extinction.”

“Through an internally funded Co-creation project, we identified the opportunity to apply advanced drone technology, combined with video analytics and spatial mapping technologies, to reduce the cost of monitoring and make the identification process more efficient. This solution has the potential to improve the efficiency of identifying and locating particular plant species, which often requires exploring vast forest areas by helicopter. Use of the drone provides a significant saving in the cost of helicopter charter and fuel as well as a reduction in emissions.”

Additionally, artificial intelligence (AI) technology is currently being trained to help identify species through video analysis. Fujitsu will continue to refine the technology by surveying the area at different altitudes to capture a richer base of data. Stage two of the project will employ SpatiOWL, Fujitsu’s big data enabled geospatial computing platform, to further enhance species geolocation.

Fujitsu is exploring the application of this technology for a wide range of related purposes in Australia and New Zealand. The technology can potentially be applied to identifying and locating outbreaks of noxious weeds in conservation areas and also identification of endangered birds and animals.

Fujitsu has commissioned a video overview of the initiative at the following link: Digital Owl video


About Fujitsu
Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company, offering a full range of technology products, solutions, and services. Approximately 140,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.1 trillion yen (US $39 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018. For more information, please see

About Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand
Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand is a leading service provider of business, information technology and communications solutions. We partner with our customers to consult, design, build, operate and support business solutions. From strategic consulting to application and infrastructure solutions and services, Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand have earned a reputation as the single supplier of choice for leading corporate and government organisations. Fujitsu Australia Limited and Fujitsu New Zealand Limited are wholly owned subsidiaries of Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702). See


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