Artificial intelligence (AI) systems to prevent elephant deaths from train collisions will soon be installed by the forest department of Tamil Nadu at the Madhukkarai and Walayar train tracks in Coimbatore. Reputable companies have already bid on installing AI systems in wildlife settings.
The two railway lines passing through the Madukkarai forest range between Madhukkarai and Walayar have been hotspots for elephant crossing and mishaps due to their collisions with speeding trains.
The artificial intelligence system in the area will warn the officials about elephant crossings. First, the problem areas would be divided into three zones. The red zone will be the first 50m area from the center to the track. The following 50m will be identified as the orange zone, and a further 50m will be the yellow zone. A luminous alert and an acoustic alert (hooter) will be installed in the console room and at all sensor towers.
If an elephant enters the yellow zone, an alert will be generated in the console room and passed on to the forest watchers. If the elephant crosses the orange zone, alerts will be sent to forest watchers, guards, railway station master, and forest range officers.
In circumstances where the elephant enters the red zone, emergency alerts will be sent to the divisional engineers of railways and district forest officials, who will intimate the loco pilot. Details of the elephant’s location and distance from the track will be conveyed to the loco pilot in advance to take the appropriate action.