Three Odisha students develop gadget to save elephants from being hit by trains

Bhubaneswar: Three students of a private university in Bhubaneswar have developed a unique device that will save elephants from fatal accidents while crossing railway tracks in forest areas.

Guided by Professor Sujata Chakraborty, three students — Payal Bhadra, Abhijit Balabantray and Sujit Sahoo — of the Centurion University produced the gadget.

With help the unique gadget, the loco pilot can evade train mishaps by taking necessary initiative after getting signal on movement of elephants from a distance of 300 meters on railway tracks.

According to reports, the trio had started developing the device in December 2019. The gadget was showcased at an event organised by IIT Bombay on March 16, 2020. The process to get patent from country’s premier institution is in final stage.

As many as 49 elephants have been killed in different train mishaps in past four years in the country. The 2013 tragic incident in Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal was said to be the reason behind invention of the gadget.

“The elephants never change their path through which they move in search of food. The construction of a railway track cannot hinder the pachyderms and they continue moving on the same path. Although there is instruction from the Railway Ministry to slow the train speed on railway tracks built in forest areas, the loco pilots at a time fail to get information about movement of elephants on the route for which many elephants have been mowed down on tracks in the past,” said Abhijit Balabantray.

Giving an instance, he said that at least six elephants were killed by a speeding train in November 2013 while crossing the railway tracks inside Chapramari wildlife sanctuary, around 18km from Banarhat area in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal.

According to the project prepared by three students of the Centurion University, there will be three sensors in three security zones 100 meters away from the railway crossing zone. The third zone, which is 300 meters away, will have an AI sensor developed by them. The sensor will detect the elephant and light it accordingly. In the second zone, i.e. the 200-meter zone, there will be another type of IR sensor, with a different type of red light and buzzer at a distance of 100 meters. The buzzer has been developed in such a manner that only the elephant can hear it and be on alert.
The Peugeot Electric sensors will be installed on both sides of the railway track. The loco pilot can prevent the accidents, 200 meters away from the site.

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