Now, cars can have sensors to alert possible collisions

AI-based system developed jointly by multiple public and private agencies, including IIIT-H

Published - September 24, 2021 07:50 pm IST - HYDERABAD

The next James Bond movie is round the corner and there is every chance every four-wheeler will soon have at least one of the features of his iconic car that warns of possible collisions ahead with the help of sensors. An indigenous Artificial Intelligence (AI) based system developed jointly by multiple public and private agencies, including the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-Hyderabad), is currently being pilot tested and will also be seen in Mahindra’s latest SUV.

iRASTE – Intelligent Solutions for Road Safety through Technology and Engineering project is a combined effort of the government, Applied AI Research Institute (INAI), Intel, IIIT-Hyderabad, CSIR-CRRI - Central Road Research Institute, Mahindra and Mahindra and the Nagpur Municipal Corporation.

“IIIT-H has been working with Intel in creating datasets for Indian driving conditions and this resulted in IDD or Indian Driving Dataset, helpful for researchers to develop their own algorithms. Setting up of INAI was like a natural progression to formalise the industry partnership and to find applications to sophisticated AI in everyday problems,” said INAI CEO Varma Konala in a post on the website.

The project was recently launched in Nagpur by Union Minister of Road Transport Nitin Gadkari. While Intel-India brought onboard systems based on Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) technology, CSIR-CRRI domain expertise was in road engineering and Mahindra and Mahindra helped in conducting road safety public awareness programs and driver training.

The group has been conducting small pilot studies of ADAS technology by Mobileye (an Intel company) where a camera mounted on the windshield of a vehicle will scan the entire road ahead using complex algorithms to track potential risks for safety.

If the system detects a potential risk of collision, it gives an audio and visual warning to the driver, like if a driver gets too close to the vehicle ahead, a warning will let him know so that he can slow down and maintain a safe following distance. A similar warning is sounded in case of a risk of colliding with pedestrians, cyclists or even stray animals. It also provides an alert to prevent unintentional drifting into the wrong lane.

Nagpur Municipal Corporation has already adopted the collision avoidance technology in a fleet of its intra-city buses. While the primary goal is to reduce accidents and casualties through modification of driver behaviour via the use of assistive technology, the second objective lies in leveraging the predictive power of AI for fixing road infrastructure, he said.

“Currently, an accident-prone zone or black spot is identified by statistical analysis by looking into deaths and fatalities of an area but it is a lagging indicator. Accumulated data from the sensors installed in the buses can help flag potential risk in certain zones, creating a leading indicator of a potential black spot which can corrected through road engineering,” explained Mr. Varma.

The technology has also been especially adapted to suit Indian conditions. Mobileye’s partnership with Mahindra and Mahindra has resulted in the same technology getting integrated in their latest XUV 700. While the initial roll-out of the system is in Nagpur, the eventual goal is to replicate the solution in other cities too. Talks are also on with the Telangana government to adopt the technology in a fleet of buses that ply on highways, he added. For a country that has seen 1.2 lakh deaths even in the pandemic year of 2020 a quick roll out should help reduce fatalities.

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