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Intelligent River Patrol Applied in SW China's Chongqing


Chongqing- At 10:07 a.m. on May 5, someone was fishing by the Longxi River in Yuntai Town, Changshou District. A few minutes later, the local river chief received a message on his mobile phone, informing him to deal with the situation.

Who detected violations and sent warning messages? The newly assigned “smart river chief” in Chongqing Municipality, Southwestern China, is an intelligent AI system.

On May 5, Chongqing’s “smart river chief” system conducted river inspections through intelligent sensing methods, such as satellite remote sensing, intelligent artificial intelligence (AI) video surveillance, drones, uncrewed ships, and pollution traceability monitoring, which greatly enhanced the river patrols’ efficiency. 

Chongqing’s “smart river chief” system is an upgrade to the previous information management system of the river chief. Currently, it was officially launched and is widely used in the city.

A picture of Chongqing. (iChongqing file photo)

Smart perception network

Chongqing’s “smart river chief” system gathers more than 100 river-related and pollution-related data from various departments of the city’s water conservation, ecological environment, planned natural resources, urban and rural construction, and other sectors. With the help of an intelligent system, front-end devices like automatic water quality and quantity monitoring equipment and AI video equipment have been set up on major rivers to monitor water quality, building an integrated intelligent perception network system.

Some of the tricky river sections are natural coastlines, which could prove difficult for manual patrols. However, the “smart river chief” can monitor these areas round-the-clock without dead angles, providing intelligent technical support for building ecological barriers in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

Targeting critical issues such as illegal fishing, swimming, drifting objects in rivers, and illegal sand mining, AI video equipment can identify problems through behavior analysis and image recognition. Once the evidence is collected, the system will issue warnings to inform local river chiefs and relevant departments. 

Moreover, satellite remote sensing will be applicated to protect the Chongqing’s rivers for the first time. The system can use the automatic interpretation function to identify and interpret the satellite remote sensing map data to find problems such as changes in water areas and coastlines. 

smart river chief

Chongqing’s “smart river chief” system. (iChongqing file photo)

System’s application in Chongqing

According to the municipal river chief’s office, as of 6:00 pm on May 5, the “smart river chief” has issued 26 warning messages involving fishing, suspected floating objects, and other problems. In addition to the smart system, 3,082 river chiefs at all levels in Chongqing also fulfilled their responsibilities, with 147 problems found on the same day. 

After the launch of the “smart river chief” system, 17,500 river chiefs will realize intelligent river patrols in Chongqing.

Compared with the previous system, the new information management one will intelligently push work plans to river chiefs, reminding them of time, key issues, task requirements, and other essential information. The new system is also designed with a “one-click river patrol” function, which can automatically match and obtain basic information such as patrol maps and river sections when patrolling. 

In addition, when encountering water pollution incidents, river chiefs can hold an online emergency meeting through the “one-click consultation” function. Once clicked, the system can automatically fetch real-time data from all front-end sensing devices in water pollution areas, conduct intelligent prediction of emergency events through analysis, and provide support for daily consultation, emergency command, and comprehensive dispatch.      

(Wang Yuxuan, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)


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