Within the Great Lakes region, the economic burden of drowning fatalities is largest in the province of Ontario, at $380 million. Many public beaches in Ontario do not have lifeguard programs and there is a lack of active monitoring of surf conditions to provide real-time warnings. UWindsor researchers along with community partners in Bruce County are creating a real-time dynamic warning system to protect Great Lakes beach users from drowning. This system will be the first of its kind in North America.
The three-year project will start in summer 2022 at Station Beach in Kincardine, Ontario. Using automated beach activity cameras, sensors, meteorological stations, and artificial intelligence, the team will create the unique system.
Members will deploy an integrated sensor network that includes water level and wave sensors as well as traffic and pedestrian sensors. The cameras will follow protocols to anonymize faces. The team will use the data collected to understand where and when waves develop and extend that modelling using an artificial neural network.