With purpose to boost street security in Nagpur, Nitin Gadkari launches iRASTE initiative

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The authorities will make airbags obligatory for all automobiles, Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari mentioned on Saturday as he launched iRASTE — a two-year pilot challenge aimed to boost street security in Nagpur and scale back fatality.

A collaborative initiative developed by Intel India, IIIT Hyderabad, Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), Mahindra & Mahindra and Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), iRASTE — an acronym for Intelligent Solutions for Road Safety by Technology and Engineering –leverages the ability of synthetic intelligence (AI) to achieve the specified objective.

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Speaking on the event, Gadkari mentioned, “The unique initiative will try to bring down fatality on Nagpur roads by 50 per cent. The drive would then be extended to other cities of India.”

He mentioned, “Annually, India loses about 1.5 lakh lives every year in road accidents. Nagpur loses 250 lives in road accidents every year, at the rate of eight deaths per 1 lakh population, which is four times that of Mumbai.”

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Pointing out that the variety of accidents has gone up in Nagpur throughout Covid-19 pandemic, Gadkari mentioned this was not a great signal for both the officers or for him. This must be addressed on precedence, he added.

Gadkari additional mentioned, “Our priority should be how to prevent accidents. As the minister concerned, I have also failed in this. But officials, particularly engineers of NMC, Nagpur Improvement Trust and National Highways Authority of India should be doing immediate analysis of why a particular accident has occurred. But there is no sensitivity and initiative regarding this (among them). They will have to be more sensitive and will have to make effort to prevent accidents. The stakeholders in this regard, including the police, lack coordination among themselves, which leads to lot of problems. So, coordination, cooperation and communication are of vital importance among all stakeholders.”

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He added, “The system that doesn’t work must be thrown out.”

Asking the stakeholders to take onboard his OSD (Officer on Special Duty) Balasaheb Theng, he mentioned, “Half of your work will be done just by use of my name. When it will be known that I am reviewing the project, the system will pick up speed of international standard. If there is anyone who is slacking, then I won’t leave him without a bashing.”

Gadkari mentioned that typically the driving force will get the blame for mishaps. “He is a poor man so he is blamed for it when there are many other things involved in a mishap,” Gadkari mentioned. “Economy cars are not fitted with airbags as if the lives of their owners are less important than those of high-end car users. So, we will be making airbags compulsory for all cars,” he mentioned.

The iRASTE initiative focuses on three essential areas – car security, mobility evaluation and street infrastructure security. As a primary step, the fleet of NMC automobiles could be outfitted with Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS), which is able to present alerts to drivers and enhance their efficiency. It can even have a Collision Avoidance System (CAS). Mobility evaluation will constantly monitor dynamic dangers of your entire street community to outline gray and black spots – areas which might be excessive danger or accident-prone.

Shekhar Mande, Director General, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), mentioned, “I am glad to note that CSIR-CRRI, a pioneer in introducing road safety audit programmes on national and state highways and having completed the road safety audit of almost 9000 km, will be providing necessary technical guidance in identifying accident-prone locations and also evaluate the drivers’ behaviour before and after installation of CAS in their vehicles.”

While Intel India will present ADAS know-how, IIIT Hyderabad will handle inhabitants scale street security by INAI (Intel AI) Center for Advanced AI analysis. Mahindra & Mahindra will conduct street security, public consciousness programmes and driver coaching.

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