In 1970, there were 20,000 black rhinos in Kenya. Today a mere 650 remain.
HiQ is proud to contribute with technical know-how in the Ngulia project – an initiative aiming to protect the animals from poachers and turn the development, with the help of new technology.
Behind the project is the Kenya Wildlife Service that has teamed up with US-based Stimson Center and Swedish Linköpings Universitet, who in turn involved HiQ to develop and test the technology. The name, Project Ngulia, comes from the Kenyan rhino sanctuary where the technology is to be implemented.
"We work with developing smart homes, smart cars and smart cities. Now it's time for the smart savannah. The poaching of rhinos increased with 5,000 per cent between 2007 and 2012 alone, and the animals aren't the only ones in danger. The park rangers risk their lives every day, says Patrik Holm at HiQ in Linköping.
The project group works a great deal with so called sensor technology and multimodal sensors in smartphones. Based on that various applications are developed for the rangers, enabling simple communication, orientation and reporting of animal- and poacher traces. The phones also work as security alarms. The project also tests everything from heat-detection cameras to drones and gunshot detectors.
"The rangers have previously been poorly equipped to tackle the poachers but now we work in close collaboration to meet their needs and wishes. HiQ has been on-site in Kenya and we also work with Kolmården Wildlife Park in order to test various technologies in the right environment," Patrik Holm explains.
Eventually, the intention is that it will be possible to scale the security system and use in other places and in other types of threat scenarios.
"Our passion is to simplify and improve with the help of technology, and that is clearly displayed in this project. We create a simpler and safer work environment for the park rangers while saving the animals from extinction," says Lars Stugemo, President and CEO at HiQ.