NEW DELHI (Metro Rail & Steel): In an initiative to curb elephant fatalities on railway tracks, the Indian Railways is set to introduce an AI-based surveillance system, dubbed the ‘Gajraj System,’ covering a 700-kilometer stretch passing through forest regions. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw revealed the strategic move on Wednesday, pinpointing key forest areas in Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Kerala, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu as critical zones for elephant habitats. The technology, developed in collaboration with startups, had a successful trial run on a 150-kilometer segment in Assam last year, showcasing its efficacy.
Here are the top 5 highlights of the AI-based surveillance system:
Alert Mechanism: The system provides timely alerts to train drivers, signaling their proximity to elephants on the tracks, ensuring precautionary measures are taken.
Project Cost: The estimated cost for implementing this project along the 700-kilometer stretch is ₹181 crore.
Success Rate: Minister Vaishnaw claimed a 99.5% accuracy in detecting elephants on tracks, resulting in the preservation of numerous elephant lives. The Railways is collaborating with forest departments to identify additional high-risk areas for expansion.
Past Success: The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) implemented this system in 11 elephant corridors, subsequently eliminating train-elephant collisions, preventing any such incidents since its launch.
Functionality: The system operates by detecting vibrations when an elephant approaches the track. Through an optical fiber cable network, it generates real-time alerts in control rooms and a mobile application, effectively identifying and locating moving elephants within a 5-meter range from the cable.
This revolutionary technology’s success in the Northeast Frontier Railway has proved pivotal in preventing train-elephant collisions. The system’s integration with existing optical fiber cable networks has facilitated its installation and functioning, showcasing promising results and averting potential tragedies. According to government data, an average of 20 elephants annually succumb to train collisions, predominantly in the Northeast Frontier Railway. With the unprecedented success of the ‘Gajraj System,’ officials are optimistic that such accidents could become a thing of the past, offering hope for the safety and preservation of elephant lives across these critical railway corridors.