Indian Railways is taking proactive measures to safeguard elephant corridors and prevent train accidents resulting in elephant fatalities. The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), responsible for operating in northeastern states, seven districts of West Bengal, and five districts of north Bihar, has implemented an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based surveillance system.
By collaborating with RailTel Corporation of India Ltd, the NFR has installed an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) as part of its commitment to disaster prevention and mitigation efforts. The IDS employs AI technology and utilizes existing optical fibers as sensors to detect the movement of wild animals, particularly elephants, in proximity to the railway tracks. It employs a fiber optic-based acoustic system that utilizes dialysis scattering phenomenon to detect real-time presence of elephants on the tracks.
Following the successful execution of the pilot project in the Chalsa – Hasimara section of the Dooars area in West Bengal and the Lanka – Hawaipur section in Assam, the NFR plans to gradually implement the IDS in all other elephant corridors within its jurisdiction. This AI-driven system has the capability to monitor the movement of animals within a stretch of 60 km.
The IDS not only aids in preventing train-elephant collisions but also assists in identifying other potential hazards such as rail fractures, trespassing on railway tracks, unauthorized digging near tracks, and landslides near the tracks. By promptly alerting control offices, station masters, gatemen, and loco pilots, the system ensures timely action can be taken to prevent accidents.
Aside from protecting the lives of elephants, the IDS contributes to the efficiency and mobility of rail transportation within the NFR region. It enhances train speeds on elephant corridors and enables the identification of various factors like digging near tracks, fiber cuts, and train presence.
With the implementation of this AI-based surveillance system, the NFR aims to acquire timely clearances from the Ministry of Forest and Environment for new railway lines and projects that pass through wildlife sanctuaries or national parks. This ensures a harmonious coexistence between rail infrastructure development and the preservation of wildlife.
1. How does the AI-based surveillance system work?
The system utilizes existing optical fibers as sensors to detect movements of wild animals, specifically elephants, along the railway tracks. It employs a fiber optic-based acoustic system that senses the real-time presence of elephants based on dialysis scattering phenomenon.
2. What are the benefits of the IDS system?
The IDS not only helps in preventing train-elephant collisions but also aids in detecting rail fractures, unauthorized digging near tracks, and landslides. It enhances rail transport mobility by increasing train speeds on elephant corridors.
3. How does the IDS contribute to environmental sustainability?
By ensuring timely clearances from the Ministry of Forest and Environment for new railway lines that pass through wildlife sanctuaries or national parks, the IDS promotes the protection of wildlife and their habitats while facilitating rail infrastructure development.
(Source: Indian Railways)