Can Artificial Intelligence be leveraged to manage city traffic? The capital's police department believes it is not only doable, but can be rolled out as early as next year. According to a report in The Hindustan Times, Delhi's top police officers shared the concept note for the Rs 1,000 crore project with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and senior government officers last month and on receiving their approval, a technical consultant has already been hired to implement it. Citing sources the report added that in July the police will place a tender for sensor-based cameras that will feed data into the AI software.
"High resolution cameras with sensor-based real-time traffic volume count technology will first be placed on all arterial roads. Around 7,000-8,000 cameras with multidirectional infrared and colourless laser sensors will count the volume based on image pattern analysis. At every signal we will also have IP-based public address system. Through the cameras, we will see the traffic and also communicate with the drivers while on move or at signals using the PA system," Depender Pathak, special commissioner of police (Traffic) and the city traffic police chief, told the daily. He further added that traffic in Delhi has a pattern. Some routes are jam-packed while some are underutilized. Once it is in place, AI will accentuate what traffic inspectors currently do. While traffic inspectors use their expertise to divert traffic, AI would use camera live feeds, sensors and even Google Maps to make a predictive algorithm.
With AI freeing up most of the traffic police from standing around on roads - barring a small number to cover emergencies - the project envisages smart traffic control rooms where the personnel will monitor the cameras.
That's not all. The police department reportedly also plans to install 1,000 LED boards that will be synced with the AI software and the cameras to display real-time information about traffic conditions. Thus, in the near future, drivers will know which roads to avoid, especially during peak hours.
Sources in the know further told the daily that the Delhi police plans to approach government to make it mandatory for all Delhi registered vehicles to have a device (or chip) on-board, which can be recognised by the system. The idea is to digitise traffic challans and fines. If things go to plan, going forward the traffic police won't have to flag down vehicles to issue traffic challans - they will simply be sent directly to the offenders by leveraging the data base of central government's e-vahaan and e sarthi portals.Differing levels of advanced traffic management systems have already been deployed in several countries across the world, including Singapore and Hong Kong. Can India do it too?