Introducing TrailGuard AI
TrailGuard AI is an innovative technology backed by powerful partnerships to stop poachers and protect parks and communities.
• TrailGuard is used as a security system for national parks to detect, stop, and arrest poachers before they kill.
• TrailGuard is just one invention from RESOLVE’s WildTech program, which focuses on developing and scaling durable, high technology solutions to monitor and protect wildlife.
• RESOLVE created and tested three prototypes of TrailGuard in Africa over the past three years before launching in January 2019, TrailGuard AI, a new device designed and built in collaboration with engineers from Intel Corporation.
• TrailGuard AI is the first wildlife-oriented security camera system designed for the rigors of the bush that combines: easy concealment due to its small size (i.e. the length of one’s index finger), human detection algorithms performed on the Intel computer vision processing unit housed in the camera head, long battery life, and near-real time connectivity to alert rangers at park HQs to be able to make timely interventions.
• WildTech@Resolve is committed to providing TrailGuard systems to national parks, conservation groups, and scientists whose mission is to protect and monitor wildlife.
• Besides Intel, TrailGuard AI is backed by partners like the National Geographic Society and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Support for R&D and deployment has come from generous contributions by the Stadler Family Foundation, WildCat Foundation, Weeden Family Foundation, Band Foundation, Marshall Field, Kowalski Family Foundation, the Arcus Foundation, and Lori Price, among others.
• Major contributions of other tech companies are on the horizon, allowing us to make TrailGuard AI even more affordable and effective.Below: Actual mages taken from TrailGuard
In Africa and Asia, poaching has reached epidemic proportions, placing iconic mammals at risk of extinction within our lifetimes. Scientists lack the ability to affordably monitor wildlife, and law enforcement is unable to detect poachers effectively. While new technologies have emerged to track and analyze contraband from the illegal wildlife trade, there are no affordable technologies that help law enforcement effectively locate poachers before they reach their target animals. To help address this challenge, RESOLVE partnered with Steve Gulick, a conservation technologist, to develop TrailGuard, a cryptic anti-poaching camera system designed to stop poachers before they kill. The technology also helps improve intelligence related to poaching and illicit networks, helping authorities crack down on illegal wildlife trade.
TrailGuard’s camera head is small enough to conceal along trails to capture photographic evidence, uses artificial intelligence to detect humans within the images, and relays pictures containing humans back to park headquarters via GSM, long-range radio, or satellite networks. The TrailGuard technology was field tested at the Grumeti Reserve in Tanzania, where it has enabled 30 arrests and the seizure of over 1300 lbs. of bushmeat.
To help meet a growing demand for this technology, RESOLVE is developing, implementing, and scaling the technology, in collaboration with a Silicon Valley manufacturer used by Intel with the goal to make TrailGuard as affordable as possible to ensure its widespread use across wildlife reserves that desperately need the technology. TrailGuard is just one conservation technology that RESOLVE is developing through WildTech@RESOLVE, an enterprise committed to developing durable, high-technology devices to facilitate the protection and monitoring of wildlife.
RESOLVE’s work on TrailGuard is led by Biodiversity and Wildlife Program Director Eric Dinerstein and inventor Steve Gulick. It is supported by Research Associate Sanjiv Fernando and Nathan Hahn.