Baidu Develops Intelligent Shelter to Protect Street Cats from the Cold
Google’s competitor search engine from China, Baidu, makes a smart shelter that uses artificial intelligence in the capital city of Beijing. It is available with heat, food, and drinks specifically for cats.
Street animals suffer significantly in the cold, especially in regions that snow and are known for harsh winters. Thinking specifically of Chinese kittens, the company Baidu – famous for the search engine of the same name and other tools of AI – decided to create a very interesting and unique shelter.
The shelter provides water and food and is automatically opened when the kitten approaches the entrance. Baidu has developed an artificial intelligence to check the street animal and to certify if it is a cat, only when the door is released. That’s right, dogs are forbidden here. It’s a way of protecting street cats from the cold while keeping them away from the dogs.
What idea was that?
An animal shelter that uses artificial intelligence is not exactly among the top scopes of Baidu. The company said the idea of the smart shelter came from an official, Wan Xi, who found a small cat hiding in his car during the winter, and who after that began to sympathize with street cats.
Wan started a parallel project using Baidu’s AI to create the shelter until Baidu itself endorsed the idea and decided to make the cat shelter a reality. It is valid to point out that Baidu is located in Beijing, a city that can reach extreme negative temperatures in the winter, leaving the animals very vulnerable.
To be aware, only 40% of street cats survive the winter of Beijing, according to Baidu’s own information. With such context in mind, it seems that the smart shelter is a good use of the company’s AI to protect the pets from the cold.
If the conditions are not convincing, the shelter will send a notification to the nearest volunteer place. The door will automatically close when the cat enters.
In addition to the scan at the entrance of the shelter, the cameras can analyze the animal and see if it has any apparent disease. The whole system is managed by volunteers who are responsible for the maintenance of shelters. If the cameras identify a wounded or sick cat, the nearest volunteer is triggered to go under.
The system created by Baidu can identify more than 170 species of cats, and the cameras are equipped with night vision to identify the animals even in the dark.
Artificial intelligence has been increasingly used with animals for a variety of purposes, and one of the biggest difficulties is to make the animals look at the camera. Fortunately, in the case of the shelter in question, the cats are curious and check the door closely, allowing the system to analyze and release the entrance. At least in Beijing, no feline will get cold in the winter.