The Indian Railways is set to deploy an AI-based surveillance system aimed at curbing elephant fatalities on railway tracks. Covering a stretch of 700 kilometers passing through forested regions, this innovative surveillance system marks a crucial step towards protecting the natural habitat of elephants.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the system's installation, devised in collaboration with select start-ups, targets key forested areas in Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Kerala, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu, where elephant populations thrive. Notably, this technology, previously tested across a 150-kilometer segment in Assam, has exhibited significant efficacy in preventing tragic incidents.
Key Highlights of the AI-Based Surveillance System:
Early Alert Mechanism: According to the Railway Minister, the AI-driven surveillance system will promptly notify train operators of elephant presence on tracks, enhancing safety measures.
Project Cost: The implementation cost for securing 700 kilometers of tracks amounts to Rs. 181 crore.
Success Rate and Expansion: Vaishnaw emphasized the system's success, boasting a 99.5% accuracy in detecting elephants on tracks. Plans are underway to collaborate with forest departments to identify and extend protection to additional vulnerable areas.
Previous Success: The Northeast Frontier Railway reported zero elephant casualties in 11 elephant corridors after introducing the Intrusion Detection System (IDS) in September 2023.
System Functionality: The IDS, integrated into the railway's optical fiber cable network, detects elephant movement up to 5 meters from the cable, issuing real-time alerts to control rooms and mobile applications, thereby averting potential collisions.
This groundbreaking initiative holds promise in significantly reducing train-related elephant fatalities, especially considering that an average of 20 elephants perish annually due to track collisions, predominantly in the Northeast Frontier Railway region. The successful application of this technology indicates a hopeful shift towards eliminating such tragic incidents in the future.