CSE498, Collaborative Design, Fall 2019
Computer Science and Engineering
Michigan State University

Evolutio is a group of technology professionals convinced that business problems have significantly simpler solutions than the market is led to believe. These solutions span across the globe, including the non-profit Elephants, Rhinos, and People (ERP), a group founded to preserve and protect Southern Africa’s wild elephants and rhinos.

As part of their initiative to preserve and protect elephants, ERP uses drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), to monitor elephants on Dinokeng Reserve in South Africa.

Drone operation, however, is costly and time-consuming. Elephants are seldom captured in drone footage and, when present, are difficult to spot. Video data collected from drone flights require manually analyzing hours of uninformative footage to find the few video frames that contain footage of elephants.

Our Drone Elephant Recognition and Tracking application serves two main functions: elephant recognition and predictive elephant tracking.

Elephant recognition specifies where and when in the hours of drone footage elephants are present (shown on the right). Our automatic elephant recognition removes the need to manually analyze video footage, saving ERP hundreds of man hours.

Elephant predictive tracking predicts potential future elephant locations. Predictive tracking allows pilots to create flight paths that maximize the chance of flying over elephants, allows rangers to be deployed to the correct location for checkups or, in the case of an active poacher situation, to confront the poacher.

ERP personnel use our web dashboard to view video footage, as well as the results of our Elephant Recognition and Tracking.

The web dashboard is built with VueJS interfacing with a Python Flask RESTful API. Detection of elephants uses a YOLOv3 model. A recurrent neural network uses GPS collars to predict elephant movement.