Shyam Jude and his team of engineers are bringing innovations to traffic signalling in the country and their work has already begun to show results, writes K. Jeshi

Picture this — a speeding ambulance with its flashing red light and siren. As it approaches a traffic signal, the signal automatically turns green. “Once we have the emergency corridor device installed in ambulances, this can become a reality,” says Shyam Jude. “It’s a revolutionary product that helps save precious seconds at traffic signals.”

Shyam Jude and his team of young engineers give shape to such innovations at their Analog and Digital Labs. It is situated in an unusually quiet corner off Avanashi Road, away from the din of traffic. Traffic intelligence is the team’s area of expertise, and they regularly brain storm to convert ideas into reality. The Emergency Corridor is their latest innovation. Jude says, “The device alerts the nearest signal about the speed of the ambulance and the direction from where it is coming. It can be operated from a minimum distance of 200 metres to a kilometre. We want to rope in big hospitals as sponsors, set up a trust and take it across the country.”

Initially, Jude set up a company along with his friends S. Ravindran that offered technical training for B.Tech students. Later, with a strong R & D wing, they branched out into live projects.

Now, it’s a 30-member strong team, of which 13 of them sit in Chennai. They work on the traffic signal components of an ongoing Integrated Traffic Management System (ITMS), a 150-crore project in Chennai. ITMS covers varied areas such as installation of number-plate-recognition cameras, emergency call box, surveillance cameras, public address system to communicate with traffic signals, and e-chalan for traffic violation.

Analog have also bagged the contract to maintain the traffic signals ( a total of 175) of the entire Chennai city.

They have established the ‘Green Corridor’ on the busy Avanashi Road which is functioning for more than a year now. It covers a 11.8 km stretch on the arterial Avanashi Road, from the Uppilipalayam flyover to the Airport Junction. “We developed ATLAS (Advanced Traffic Light and Assistance System), a traffic control system that ensures a green signal for the motorist at all the 13 traffic signals, when he maintains the speed of 45 kms. It’s a two–way synchronised traffic corridor. At every signal, you save 30 seconds, and a total of three to four minutes each way.”

They came up with the idea, when Shyam and his friends got stuck at the 100-ft road signal in Gandhipuram. “Because of heavy traffic, the traffic cop had switched off the signal, and was manually directing traffic and this created the bottleneck. We thought networking traffic signals with the central control room would solve this. We approached the former Commissioner of Coimbatore Sylendra Babu with the plan. We conducted a demo at two signals at Ukkadam bus stand and Police Station. We realised that every minute we save counts.”

The 13 traffic junctions on the green corridor works on the satellite link, says Yashwant.S, who joined Jude after his masters in the U.S.

A young team

Their core research team has eight engineers. Arjun Singh and Ravi K.S. work on the software applications of traffic signals system. Sathyan K takes care of emergency corridor, while Karthik and Dinesh Kumar are the brain behind VIOLET, a Violation Prevention and Regulation Enforcement that is an e-challan system that works with the help of an Android phone application and a blue-tooth enabled printer. When a motorist flouts traffic rules, his vehicle history is dug up, and an alert is sent to his mobile about the fine he has to pay.

They have bagged projects to install Wireless Surveillance Cameras at Tirupathi, a total of 120 cameras in 34 locations. “We are competing against giants like CMS Traffic Systems, KELTRON, and Nucleonics. Our strength is innovative technology at a competitive cost. We are executing government projects, especially installation of surveillance cameras and road safety equipment in Chennai, Tirupur, Pollachi, Mettupalayam, Erode, Namakkal, Nagercoil, Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Krishnagiri, Perambalur, Coimbatore, and Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh,” says Jude.

They have installed surveillance cameras at 100ft road, Cross Cut Road and Oppanakkara Street and the arterial roads of Coimbatore to look into the movement of public, especially during festivals.

“Recently, our surveillance team of Venkatesh, Malcolm, Faizal and Praksh were at Bannari Amman temple to install surveillance cameras for the festival. We do such activities as a part of CSR. Shalini, the only women member, in the team, takes care of the operations.”

Commissioners of Police such as Sylendra Babu, Amaresh Pujari, A.K.Viswanathan, and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime and Traffic) Tr. Pravesh Kumar, and T. Senthil Kumar have encouraged them. “We have broken the myth that engineers only prefer to work in AC offices,” smiles V. Senthilkumar. “We go out in the sun, and get down and dirty.”

Their goal is to play a bigger role in traffic signalling department, says Shyam. “We want to contribute to Intelligence Transportation System and explore the dynamics of this field in Tamil Nadu as the potential is huge. We need more flyovers to do away with the traffic signals, which is physically impossible. Now, we maintain over 300 traffic signals across Tamil Nadu and 42 in Coimbatore.”

Intelligence in areas such as vehicle density calculation, stop line violation, red line violation, variable message displays on big screens, surveillance cameras and facial recognition are waiting to be explored. N. Vignesh and Guruprasad, who look after business development, says the focus is to stabilise and have a pan-India presence.

The team has also installed programmed water fountains! “It’s like operating a traffic signal inside a water fountain,” they laugh. They have done this at Thekkady, Madurai and Riyadh.

“We set 50 different types of lights and some 25 different movements. Every second, you can control the movement of water like a laser show. We replicate the same at the traffic signals.”

VIOLET

Violation Prevention and Regulation Enforcement device. It generates an e-challan for traffic violators with the help of an Android phone and a blue-tooth enabled printer.

EMERGENCY CORRIDOR

A communication device between an ambulance and a traffic signal. The device, when installed in an ambulance, alerts the nearest traffic signal about the speed of the ambulance, and the direction from where it is coming.

Based on this, the controller at the traffic signal decides on the priority.

In Chennai, the Analog team has provided GPS Vehicle Tracking System to the police. With the help of this, the police control room can alert police vehicles nearest to the place of emergency.

Analog provides automised solutions too. For example, in a manufacturing unit, they could link the functioning of a machinery unit with computers. It allows the manufacturer to monitor production from anywhere. To know more, call: 98430-86421/ 0422-4521520

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