Artificial intelligence (AI) created by Intel is to be used in cameras to detect poachers entering wildlife reserves and alert park rangers before they can kill endangered animals.
The technology firm has announced its software is to be used in TrailGuard AI cameras that are capable of object detection and image classification remotely, and are capable of alerting rangers should a person or vehicle be detected.
The cameras are to be distributed around wildlife reserves by non-profit organisation Resolve, and have been built in partnership with the National Geographic Society and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
They will be deployed in African wildlife reserves and throughout south-east Asia in early 2019, the technology firm said.
The pencil-sized devices contain a long-life battery which can last up to a year and a half without needing to be charged.
The cameras use Intel’s neural network algorithms to help them more accurately identify poachers rather than other motion in front of the camera.
“By pairing AI technology with human decision-makers, we can solve some of our greatest challenges, including illegal poaching of endangered animals,” Intel’s head of AI for social good Anna Bethke said.
“With TrailGuard AI, Intel’s Movidius technology enables the camera to capture suspected poacher images and alerts park rangers, who will ultimately decide the most appropriate response.”
According to Resolve, an elephant is killed every 15 minutes by a poacher.
Justin Winters, executive director of 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.
“A commitment to protecting wildlife has been at the heart of LDF’s work from the beginning and we are excited to collaborate with Intel and Resolve on this breakthrough AI technology, which is set to be a game-changer for park rangers in the monitoring and management of endangered species around the world.”