Several organizations are already using drones to fight poaching, but the Lindbergh Foundation is taking it one step further. The environmental non-profit has joined forces with Neurala in order to use the company’s deep learning neural network AI to boost the capabilities of the drones in its Air Shepherd program. Neurala taught its technology what elephants, rhinos and poachers look like, so it can accurately pinpoint and mark them in videos. It will now put the AI to work sifting through all the footage the foundation’s drones beam back in real time, including infrared footage taken at night.
The AI’s job is to pore over these videos and quickly identify the presence of poachers to prevent them from even reaching the animals’ herds. It’s the perfect addition to the Air Shepherd program that aims to use cutting edge software and drones to stop poaching in Africa.
Neurala CEO Max Versace said in a statement:
"This is a terrific example of how AI technology can be a vital force for good. We’re thrilled to be working with the Lindbergh Foundation in this unique partnership, contributing our deep learning software to such a worthwhile cause and doing our part to preserve endangered species."
It’ll be interesting to see how effective the program’s drone-AI system is in the future. For now, you can watch the video below to see how Neurala’s technology identifies objects of interest.