Dr SP le Roux’s research combines machine learning and digital signal processing to help park rangers and behavioural ecologists keep an eye on the magnificent beasts. “I’ve always had a passion for nature conservation and technology,” said Le Roux.
During his electrical engineering doctorate programme at the university, Le Roux designed a biotelemetry tag that attaches to the rhino and detects its movements. Using GPS tracking and machine learning algorithms, the device will keep rangers informed.
For a certain period of time the tag will record all the rhinos’ movements. Conservationists will review the data and flag specific situations. For instance, if a rhino is lying down too much or running away from danger.
In future, when the device encounters similar situations, it will alert park rangers who can then send drones or go on foot to see what is happening.