Creating a Cyber Shield Around Nature – A Chip that Disables Machinery From Operating in Protected Areas

    By Harold Henry - Sep 5, 2019
    Creating a Cyber Shield Around Nature – A Chip that Disables Machinery From Operating in Protected Areas

    Despite its protective status, one-third of the world’s nature reserves are under threat from human activity. While it is hard to stop humans from destroying our planet, there is technology that can disable the machines they use.

    That’s the idea between a collaboration with NGOs and AKQA, creating an open-source software called “Code of Conscience” that restricts the use of heavy-duty vehicles in protected land areas.

    A small, low-cost chip has been developed to equip the code into older, non-GPS models, and the software is available for free to everyone on CodeofConscience.org.

    Using vehicle on-board GPS, the code detects when a protected area has been breached. When a machine enters a protected area, the system automatically restricts its use.

    An invitation comprising the Code of Conscience chip embedded in a wooden sculpture of an endangered animal has been sent to the CEOs of the world’s top ten construction equipment manufacturers, with a vision for all new machines to leave the factory with Code of Conscience pre-installed.

    “May all heavy machine manufacturers and leaders come and see this,” said Chief Raoni Metuktire, a prominent Native Brazilian leader and a living symbol of the mission to preserve the rainforest and its indigenous culture. “So that the tractors operate, but stop when they reach our land, our forest and so it continues to exist. It is for our awareness and for the forest to stand up.”

    “The illegal destruction of nature affects everyone, whether through the reduction of biodiversity, violence against communities, degradation of soil, or the heating of our planet,” said Hugo Veiga, executive creative director, AKQA.

    “Code of Conscience now invites heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers to become part of the solution to these critical global problems. And it’s clearly economically viable; while it may deter some operators who wish to break environmental laws, it will attract the growing number of responsible organizations who recognize the strategic value in supporting the rainforest amidst an increasingly environmentally conscious world.”

    Lead by executive creative director Tim Devine, AKQA AUNZ was a key collaborator bringing this project to life.

    “With Australia’s refusal to commit to the climate change initiatives championed by our Pacific neighbors (many of which are significantly affected by deforestation), and Brazil’s rainforests under threat from political and natural disasters, our Melbourne and Sao Paulo teams partnered to do something about it,” said Devine.

    “The code is very straightforward and takes advantage of technologies that have been commonplace in smartphones for years. Our solution was simply to apply that technology in a new way and package it so that manufacturers can easily apply the code for their machines.”

    Code of Conscience has been developed in partnership with the Raoni Institute, which represents the Kayapó indigenous group and its mission to stop unfettered Amazonian destruction, as well as the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), and the Peabiru Institute which promotes social diversity throughout the region. The ambition is for Code of Conscience to become federal law.

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