Chambal Expressway included in Bharatmala Pariyojana phase-1: Nitin Gadkari 

By PTI

NAGPUR: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday launched ‘iRASTE’, an Artificial Intelligence-powered project, on a pilot basis in Nagpur in Maharashtra with the aim of reducing accidents by 50 per cent in Vidarbha’s biggest city.

A collaborative effort between the government, Intel, INAI, IIIT-Hyderabad, CSIR-CRRI (Central Road Research Institute), Mahindra & Mahindra and Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), the project will focus on vehicle safety, mobility analysis and road infrastructure safety to move towards a ‘Vision Zero’ accident scenario, a release said.

Vehicles belonging to NMC will be equipped with collision avoidance technology that can reduce accidents and near misses by up to 60 percent, while sensors will help map the dynamic risk of the entire road network, which can be used by agencies to prevent and rectify accident-prone zones, also called black spots, the release added.

Gadkari said 1,500 accidents, which cause 250 deaths, take place in Nagpur every year and the use of AI to map accident spots, which will be repaired by his ministry, will also help collect data on road surface condition, signage, marking, signal details, type of vehicles, models in use and utility assets.

“The crash severity index (which is found by calculating fatalities and serious injuries in an accident) in Nagpur was 21.22 in 2018, 24.83 in 2019, and 70.17 in 2020, this increase coming during the COVID-19 pandemic (when most areas were under lockdown), which is not a good thing at all,” he said.

Nagpur was witnessing an average of eight road accident deaths for every one lakh people in the last three years, which was four times that of a much bigger city like Mumbai, and this situation needed to be addressed quickly, Gadkari added.

Intel India Country Head Nivruti Rai and IITH Director Professor PJ Narayan, who spoke on the occasion, said the ‘iRASTE’ project would go a long way in creating a blueprint for the country in order to bring accidents to zero.