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Can artificial intelligence help reduce road accidents in Bangladesh?

  • Published at 01:32 am March 21st, 2019
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The interface of the app which uses a universal artificial intelligence (AI) - controlled auto braking system Dhaka Tribune

A group of Daffodil International University students believes it can

Bangladesh has seen a significant surge in the number of road accidents in the past few years; with the highest number fatalities recorded in 2018.

Despite last year's massive nationwide Road Safety Movement, the country has continued to witness a large number of road accidents, with total fatalities reaching 4,580 in 2018; this is almost 7% higher than the amount in 2017.

With this in mind, a Bangladeshi start-up company built a machine to prevent road accidents, using a universal artificial intelligence (AI)-controlled auto braking system.

Four youths, who completed their Bachelor of Science program in Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) at Daffodil International University, built a company named Avvene AI, to tackle reckless accidents.

The machine, which is yet to be named, is made of a combination of hardware and software systems. It will be operated using AI. One will be able to integrate the AI into one's vehicle without breaking one's bank.

The Dhaka Tribune interviewed MD Shajjad Howlader, the leader of the team which built the app. Shajjad worked on the part of the equipment that specializes in AI.

Other group members are – Soikat Hasan, Pramit Ganguly, and Ibrahim khan Arshad.

Soikat worked on the hardware part that enables the machines to operate in accordance with AI; Pramit Ganguly designed the machine, and Ibrahim worked on the machine's software system.

Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Shajjad Howlader said: "We were in our last semester when the student movement for safe roads began. 

“The protest had us thinking about what we could do, as engineers, to make roads safer. Therefore, we came up with this universal artificial intelligence braking system."

He said: “The base structure of our [Bangladesh's] transportation system and authority is flawed due to the lack of proper implementation of regulations. Drivers often disregard the rules and drive recklessly on the road, resulting in frequent accidents and a loss of valuable life.”

"Hence, we believe this machine will help prevent accidents,” Shajjad added.

How does the machine work?

The universal AI braking system will have a pump installed to control the electrical pressure of the braking system in vehicles.

It will monitor the braking system of a vehicle by collecting information about its speed and other details by using AI technology. The machine will be able to detect different types and shapes of human beings or objects, as well as road signs. and will keep monitoring the vehicle's pace. 

If the driver fails to brake, then the AI system will control the speed.

Detailed information and directions for driving will be shown in a monitor installed in the vehicles, and a 360-degree camera will be installed to collect images for the AI analysis. 

Emphasizing the importance of retaining partial control of the vehicle to enforce safety, Shajjad explained: “Instead of creating a fully-automated vehicle, our primary objective is to enforce control over the braking system with the help of AI, as, most of the time, accidents happen due to excessive speeding, or reckless driving.

"It will suppress the recklessness and racing tendencies of the vehicles' drivers, and also significantly reduce road accidents.”

Machine’s worldwide recognition

The project reached the semi-finals of the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) 2019. It did not make it into the final 24 in the competition organized by US Department of State.

However, the company is looking forward to getting local and international investors, and even funds from the government, to bring the technology to market.