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Tamil Nadu’s AI-Powered Elephant Protection System Aims to Prevent Train Collisions


Tamil Nadu is nearing the completion of its pioneering artificial intelligence (AI)-based early warning system designed to safeguard wild elephants from train collisions. This innovative project is being implemented along the Ettimadai–Walayar railway section, serving as an additional layer of protection for these majestic pachyderms.

Tamil Nadu’s AI-based early warning system stands as a remarkable initiative to preserve the lives of wild elephants and reduce the risks associated with train collisions. As the final stages of implementation are underway, it is anticipated that this system will play a pivotal role in safeguarding the precious wildlife in the Ettimadai–Walayar region, demonstrating the harmonious coexistence of technology and conservation.

The E-Surveillance Towers: Enhancing Elephant Safety

The Forest Department has successfully installed 12 e-surveillance towers for this groundbreaking project, divided between the ‘A’ and ‘B’ lines of the twin single line railway.

Thermal Imaging Cameras: Thermal imaging cameras have been affixed to all towers along the ‘A’ line, while the ‘B’ line is currently undergoing camera installation and networking-related tasks.

Coverage Area: The towers, equipped with thermal imaging cameras, have been strategically placed in the highly vulnerable area spanning 7.05 km along the Ettimadai–Walayar section. This region traverses the Solakkarai reserve forest of the Madukkarai range, with 2.9 km on the ‘A’ line and 4.15 km on the ‘B’ line.

AI-Powered Detection System: Protecting Elephants

The AI-based system is the heart of this project, focusing on the detection of elephant movement and subsequent alert mechanisms.

Programming AI-Based Thermal Cameras: Currently, technicians are programming the AI-based thermal cameras on the towers along the ‘A’ line to detect the movement of elephants hidden in thickets.

Alert Mechanism: Once fully operational, the AI system will identify elephant movement and communicate this information to both the Forest Department staff and railway authorities.

Train Speed Reduction: Locomotive pilots will receive these alerts and will be able to reduce train speeds promptly, ensuring the safety of the elephants and preventing accidents.

Reducing Elephant-Train Collisions: A Vital Necessity

The urgency of this project is underscored by the fact that between 2008 and 2022, a total of 11 elephants lost their lives in six train collisions along the railway lines connecting Coimbatore and Palakkad. This innovative AI-based system aims to significantly reduce such tragic incidents and protect the wildlife in the region.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • Tamil Nadu Formation – 26 January 1950;
  • Tamil Nadu Capital – Chennai;
  • Tamil Nadu Chief Minister – M K Stalin;
  • Tamil Nadu Governor – R N Ravi.

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