ShotSpotter, Inc., the provider of gunshot detection solutions that help law enforcement officials identify, locate and deter gun violence, announces a new technology innovation unit – ShotSpotter Labs – to expand the company’s current efforts supporting innovative uses of its technology to help protect wildlife and the environment.
ShotSpotter Labs is launching with an initial focus on helping combat rhino poaching in South Africa. Later this year, the unit intends to explore other applications for global wildlife protection such as combatting illegal blast fishing in Malaysia with underwater sensors.
Multiple poacher apprehensions
In 2014, ShotSpotter began a pilot of its gunshot detection technology in the Intensified Protection Zone of Kruger National Park in South Africa, home to 60% of the last remaining rhinos. Given the vast expanse of the park, most poaching incidents went undetected with carcasses found days or weeks after the fact. With the introduction of ShotSpotter to detect, locate and alert park rangers to gunfire incidents in under 60 seconds, there have been multiple poacher apprehensions within the coverage area since its debut.
The resulting speed and accuracy of the response not only increases our chances of making contact and effecting an arrest"
“ShotSpotter changes the game by giving our rangers the exact location of the shot within seconds,” said Glenn Phillips, Managing Executive of Kruger National Park. “The resulting speed and accuracy of the response not only increases our chances of making contact and effecting an arrest, but over time we hope will send a powerful message to poachers to stay away.”
Unmanned aerial vehicles
In addition to significantly expanding coverage area in the park, ShotSpotter Labs plans to integrate with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for automated dispatch to the precise latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of the gunfire. The UAVs will provide a video stream to rangers so that they can track the poachers.
ShotSpotter has had to adapt its sensors and software for use in the sprawling expanse of Kruger National Park with no electricity available to power sensors. These types of system innovations required for anti-poaching are already being applied in other applications such as solar-powered sensors in freeway deployments with limited access to electricity.
“I’ve seen the devastation to the rhino population firsthand in South Africa and it’s meaningful that ShotSpotter can make a difference to help these amazing animals survive for future generations,” said Ralph A. Clark, president and CEO of ShotSpotter. “This kind of engagement is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also an opportunity for us to develop innovative technology that can ultimately be incorporated back into core products across our business.”