The Hague-based Hack The Planet, a tech-for-good startup, announced on Wednesday that it has developed the world’s first wildlife camera with Artificial Intelligence (AI) in collaboration with the University of Stirling.
According to the Dutch startup, the wildlife camera can detect different animal species and people and provide real-time alerts to eco-guards.
During the study, Dr. Robin Whytock, a Post-doctoral Researcher at the University of Stirling, says, “Real-time data from smart cameras and other sensors could revolutionise how we monitor and protect the world’s most threatened ecosystems. The advances made in this study show that real-time data could be used to make better decisions during time-critical situations.”
The company claims that these AI-powered cameras can help detect poachers and prevent human-elephant conflicts in the African rainforest, among other places.
The work on the AI-enabled camera traps is also supported by an international team of researchers and conservationists from
- Ministry of Water and Forests
- Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux
- Appsillon AI for Good
- University of Oregon
- University of KwaZulu-Natal
- University of Oxford
- Utrecht University
- Yale University
- Institut de Recherche en Ecologie Tropicale
Hack The Planet
Founded by Tim van Deursen, Hack The Planet, a part of digital product studio Q42, has developed a smart camera trap powered by AI that can label images and send a warning to rangers or a village.
For example, the cameras can detect illegal human activity in protected areas by alerting rangers.
In a recently published journal ‘Methods in Ecology and Evolution,’ the engineers and scientists demonstrated AI cameras accurately identifying humans and elephants in the remote areas of Gabon.
Lee White, Gabonese minister of Water, Forests, the Sea, and Environment, says, “Fewer of our eco-guards will die, and more poachers will be caught if we can deploy this technology.”
During the pilot in the Gabonese rainforest, five camera systems took more than 800 photos in 72 days, of which 217 were of elephants.
The company claimed to have achieved an accuracy of 82 per cent in recognising elephants. In addition, rangers received an alert from the system within seven minutes on average.
Tim van Deursen, the founder of Hack The Planet, says, “With this pilot, we have demonstrated that our AI-powered camera technology works and can positively impact nature conservation. Our solution does not depend on installing additional network infrastructure in the landscape and can be deployed in the field by non-experts anywhere in the world.”
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