In a bid to mitigate human-animal conflicts, scientists in Tamil Nadu have developed an automated thermal detection system that can discern wild elephants from background and other animals in infrared images.
The team explained how encounters between humans and elephants are a critical safety issue in the Western Ghats region of Tamil Nadu.
“The movement of wild elephants crossing the forest borders and the preventive measures taken causes damage to the lives of both people and elephants,” said Siva Mangai at Karunya University in Coimbatore.
The automated processing of infrared images placed at strategic locations might provide an early-warning system and reduce such encounters to the mutual benefit of both elephants and people, the team said in the International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics.
The team has made use of segmentation, a process of grouping a set of objects into segments of similar characteristics.
The team developed a clustering-based image segmentation approach for accurate elephant recognition in infrared images.
The algorithm developed by the team could serve as the basis for developing a very large scale integration (VLSI)-based system to detect elephants so that they can be safely prevented from crossing forest borders and entering human habitats.
The tests with images of elephants, horses, bears, cattle and other animals likely to be in the forest gave a recognition rate of almost 95 percent.