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Herd Tracking: Chronicles of a Jungle Odyssey

Chapter 1: The Inception of the Expedition

Robotto co-founder and CEO with WWF Denmark's Director.

With the ink still fresh on our contract with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and our project's mission established, it was time to embark on our grand expedition to the enchanting land of Thailand. Our co-founders, the indomitable Kenneth Richard Geipel and Lucas de Paula, braved a 14-hour journey from the quaint city of Aalborg in Denmark, to the lush expanses of Thailand’s Kui Buri and Kaeng Krung National Parks - a sanctuary renowned for housing Thailand's majestic elephants. They would rendezvous with the esteemed Tanasin Yimnoi, the mastermind behind the WWF's pioneering Eyes on the Forest Project.



Robotto Co-Founder and CEO Kenneth Richard Geipel with WWF Thailand's leadership during fact finding mission for herd tracking

Venturing deeper into the heart of the rainforest, our brave explorers found their base camp amidst the undulating green waves of the jungle. Over the ensuing days, they became the students of the jungle, observing and absorbing the complex tasks of the park rangers. Their curiosity was piqued by the sight of drones humming overhead, and a barrage of questions followed. How do they operate these machines to spot both elephants and poachers?


What action is taken once a detection is made? What dangers do the rangers face in the execution of their duty?


Intricately examining these routines led them to a revelation - a Herd Tracking solution using a nimble quadcopter could greatly improve the park's conservation efforts, providing instantaneous advantages and enhancing the rangers' safety.


Chapter 2: A Journey up the 'Hill'
Robotto's co-founder and CEO Kenneth Richard Geipel hiking a mountain during fact finding mission for herd tracking

Their adventure took an unexpected turn when a drone pilot spotted an elephant at the 'peak of a hill'.


Accustomed to the flat terrain of Denmark, our team anticipated a short 20-meter climb. Little did they know they were in for what felt like a three-hour[LP2] uphill battle against nature. As they trudged along, panting and perspiring, they saw their Thai companions effortlessly carry the drone while leisurely puffing on cigarettes.


This trip, while difficult for the Danish team, showed the hard work Thailand’s park rangers put in when on the job. Their dedication to keeping elephants and the local community is commendable. Upon arriving home, this story kept the team motivated to deliver a solution that makes their jobs easier.


Chapter 3: Brush with the Elephants

Elephant in the distance during fact finding mission

Reflecting on their journey, Kenneth, our CEO, shared his awe-inspiring encounter with elephants in the cloak of darkness. Armed with only a flashlight, the team followed the rangers, looking for the elephants they had spotted earlier through their drone. The real shocker came when they finally found the colossal creature standing a mere 10-15 meters from them.


As the sun went down, they soaked in the ambiance of Thailand, immersing themselves in the local culture, sharing stories with park rangers, and savoring authentic Thai cuisine.


Chapter 4: Perfecting the Solution

Upon their return, the team had a newfound clarity - the introduction of autonomous flight and AI detection would be a game-changer for the park rangers. This sparked an innovation spree within our development team. They meticulously drafted a blueprint of the new software, while our resident AI genius set to work on compiling data to train an AI model that could aid the rangers in detecting elephants.



Robotto Hawk UAV Drone in flight for herd tracking mission

Yet, the quest for suitable data wasn't easy. Aerial videos of elephants were aplenty, but ones that showed the view directly beneath the drone were a rarity. Undeterred, we devised a clever solution. A Robotto Hawk unit was dispatched to our partners in Thailand, empowering them to capture the crucial aerial footage. Concurrently, the Robotto team paid a visit to the Elephant team at Aalborg Zoo. With their kind permission, we studied the behavior of the elephants and accumulated data to refine our model further.


Chapter 5: The Reunion with the Jungle

Three months after their initial homecoming, it was time for our team to head back to the verdant landscapes of Thailand - this time, with an additional companion, our very own CTO and Co-Founder, Iuliu Novac. Braving the 14-hour journey, our stalwarts reunited with Tanasin Yimnoi of WWF Thailand, their anticipation palpable. They carried with them a treasure - the 'Robotto Brain', a revolutionary piece of technology armed with software that facilitates autonomous flight, real-time AI detection, and Robotto's state-of-the-art Anti-Poaching system.



Robotto Hawk and Brain takeoff for herd tracking mission

Once the team landed in Thailand, it was time for the Eye in the Sky team to get acquainted with their new tool. They were introduced to the Robotto Brain and walked through the process of installing this unique intelligence onto the Robotto Hawk UAV. Our team emphasized how this tool would revolutionize their flight techniques, setting them apart from traditional UAV methods.


After a full night’s rest under the stars, the Robotto Team met up with their Thai counterparts to begin training the team on how to install and use the Robotto solutions. Throughout the week, our Robotto emissaries remained by the side of the Thai drone pilots, a constant source of support and guidance. Yet, their most crucial responsibility was to establish a conduit for continuous data flow from Thailand to Robotto HQ. This essential link would empower our team to constantly refine the AI model, enhancing its detection accuracy over time.



Anti-poaching mission with Robotto

Reflecting on the trip, Iuliu Novac, our CTO, highlighted the electrifying moment when the drone detected suspicious activities in the vicinity. When the Robotto team arrived on location the second day, they noticed the WWF drone pilots and believed them to be searching for elephants. However, after seeking more information they learned a local ranger had spotted light from a flashlight and the sounds of dogs barking, leading them to believe poachers were active in the area. Around them, armed rangers were viewing the video feed and the atmosphere became tense, as the rangers informed the Robotto team that poachers often have better weapons than they have available..


This vivid memory reinforced the impact and necessity of their work, instilling in them a renewed sense of determination for their mission. The following day the Robotto team demoed our new anti-poaching solution that uses AI to detect movement in the area. The team spoke about the potential the solution could have to improve the safety of their rangers.

Closing out the trip, the Robotto team gathered over a shared meal of Thai barbeque, known as Mookata.


This was our journey, a testament to our commitment to making a difference, one elephant at a time. To learn more about the solution visit www.robotto.ai/herd-tracking



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