Japan deploys artificial intelligence to detect rip currents as beach season hots up

AI system identifies currents and bathers, and sends a warning to lifeguards via a smart watch

Early July is the cue for Japanese surfers and sun seekers to descend on beaches across the country – and one beach on the Pacific coast is turning to artificial intelligence to ensure that their time in the water is without incident.

Officials in Kanagawa prefecture, south of Tokyo, have introduced an AI system to identify rip currents – which cause 60% of drowning deaths – and send a warning to bathers and lifeguards, according to the Mainichi Shimbun.

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