AI-powered camera to stop illegal poaching

Intel, RESOLVE, National Geographic and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation are collaborating to deploy AI cameras to protect wildlife

4Jan

Tech mogul Intel has announced that its AI software chip Movidius will be integrated into non-profit RESOLVE's new anti-poaching cameras in Africa. The latest upgrade is named TrailGuard AI.

With Intel's Movidius chip, TrailGuard AI will integrate deep neural network algorithms for object recognition and image processing. TrailGuard AI will act as a motion sensor meaning that if humans are detected, rangers will be alerted in near real-time of poaching threats.

Eric Dinerstein, director of biodiversity and wildlife at RESOLVE, said: "The Intel Movidius VPU allowed us to revolutionize TrailGuard AI by adding AI to a proven end-to-end solution to stop illegal poaching around the world.

"In addition to providing the AI technology, Intel engineers worked closely with us to build, test and optimize this incredible anti-poaching solution that will make a real difference in saving animals," he added.

There is currently a poaching epidemic in Africa. An elephant is killed every 15 minutes by a poacher, a rate of approximately 35,000 elephants per year, Justin Winters, executive director at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, said.

"Reckless human activity is causing species loss and extinction on an unprecedented scale, with recent reports showing that as many as 60% of all wildlife has been wiped out since 1970. If illegal poaching of wildlife continues at the current rate, elephants are just one of the large mammal species that will be completely erased in our lifetime," Winters stated.

The TrailGuard AI comes as upgrade to RESOLVE's first generation TrailGuard camera. The new AI-powered camera with Movidius aims to offer enhanced accuracy, longer battery life and is around the size of a pencil meaning it's "easier to hide and camouflage from poachers and wild animals," according to Intel.

"With the first-generation camera, rangers receive many photos that they had to manually review to determine if there is a poaching threat or a false-positive triggered by other motion. By adding an additional layer of AI into the system, TrailGuard AI intelligently knows when a potential poacher is present, allowing park rangers to rapidly intercept and apprehend," Intel added.

To deploy the new system the non-profit is working alongside a number of companies including the National Geographic Society and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

According to Intel, the system will be deployed in 100 reserves and national parks throughout Africa in 2019 starting in Serengeti and Garamba and has plans to expand in Southeast Asia and South America.

Dr. Fabien Laurier, VP of National Geographic Labs commented: "Edge computing technology has the power to revolutionize the way we understand and protect our natural heritage.

"This collaboration is critical to accelerating conservation and working toward our mission of achieving a planet in balance."

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