AI-based cameras to curb elephant deaths (Coimbatore)
A Subburaj, Times of India
May 18, 2023
To detect movement of wild elephants near railway tracks in Madukkarai
forest range in Coimbatore division, the forest department would fix 12
cameras with artificial intelligence (AI) based surveillance systems.
Five cameras would be installed along the A-line track that traverse the
forest for a stretch of 1.78km.The remaining seven cameras would be
installed along the B-line track that passes through the forest for 2.8km.
The forest department would also install speed guns along the two tracks to
monitor the speed of trains.
The state government has sanctioned 7.24 crore for the purpose.
“A private firm has started constructing 12 towers for the cameras and they
will be ready in three months. Each tower will be 18m to 20m high and the
AI and thermal imaging cameras will be fixed atop them. While the cameras
will have a range of 1km, they can clearly detect movement of elephants for
150m. The cameras will capture the images of elephants near the track and
generate alerts automatically,” said S Ramasubramanian, conservator of
forests, Coimbatore circle.
He said a siren would also be fixed at the tower. “Once the camera detects
elephants, it will trigger the siren too.”
Madukkarai forest range officer P Santhiya said all the 12 cameras will be
linked to a command control centre at the Chenganpallam forest checkpost,
where staff would be deployed round the clock.
“We have created three zones - yellow, orange and red - around the track.
The yellow zone is 150m away from the track, while the orange zone is 100m
and the red zone is 50m away. The thermal imaging cameras will be used to
monitor elephant movement at nights,” Santhiya said.
Whenever the AI cameras generate an alert, she said, forest personnel
manning the command centre would alert the Palakkad railway division
officials, who would ask loco pilots to reduce the speed of trains in the
The speed guns along the tracks would ensure the speed of trains. “If any
train breaches the speed limit, an immediate alert will be sent to the
control room and necessary instructions will be given to the railway
department,” the officer said.
The railway department had brought down the speed limit of passenger trains
to 45kmph between 6pm and 6am and 65kmph during the day on the two
stretches. The goods trains were ordered to maintain a speed between 25 and
35kmph on the section.