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Tamil Nadu Amidst the use of AI to protect elephants from train accidents

  • Posted on May 21, 2024
  • News

Tamil Nadu has deployed an AI-powered surveillance system to detect elephants near railway tracks, alerting officials to slow trains and guide the animals away safely, preventing collisions that have killed dozens in recent years.


Tamil Nadu in India is set to start using artificial intelligence for surveillance to prevent elephant deaths on railway lines. In the whole of the southern state, 36 elephants have been reported as killed in train accidents in the past decade of which 11 such deaths have been on tracks near Madukkarai which meets the elephant corridor.

Among other things, the state has come up with an array of AI cameras and sensors along rail routes deemed vulnerable to train thefts, in line with a 2021 court order. The thermal imaging and motion sensor cameras can locate the elephants up to 100 feet from the tracks.

If they notice elephants have ventured close to the area, forest officials and the railway authorities are notified to slow down the trains and shepherd the pachyderms to a safe distance away. A 24-hour surveillance center with 4 personnel is in place to oversee all operations.

We used foot patrols which had disadvantages earlier. It was very difficult to protect elephants entirely,” Said Supriya Sahu, secretary of the Tamil Nadu Forest Department. After several months of implementation of this new system, 400 times of elephants’ approach and collision potentiality have been recognized.

It cost $850,000 and is already showing benefits. Train pilots also give feedback about receiving real-time alerts when there is the presence of animals within and even during the night when visibility is low. More elephant corridors are being planned and work is already in progress for five other elephant corridors in the state.

Also Read: Gajraj AI: Shielding Elephants from Rail Mishaps - Revolutionary Tech Unveiled

Artificial Intelligence has been frequently used for wildlife protection in India and Africa. The case of Tamil Nadu shows that there are alternatives to a solution to human-animal conflicts ensuring ecological preservation.

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