Artificial Intelligence (AI) Making Transport Safer, Cleaner and More Reliable — Should India Adopt?

The world of transportation is changing at a rapid rate, and the latest developments in smart technology are providing solutions to some of the long-standing challenges we have had with conventional modes of transport. From autonomous driving cars and trucks to self-navigating drones that deliver parcels, artificial intelligence (AI) is helping us to reduce pollution and congestion, and improve the flow of traffic. Do you agree?

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

How Artificial Intelligence is Making Transport Safer in Emerging Markets?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help experts and authorities more efficiently allocate resources to areas where they're most needed.

Increased highway capacity is only one solution that we can look to for short-term relief in the traffic congestion problem; however, it's not a very effective long-term solution as our roads fill up once again with cars. And even if we do manage to find a way to alleviate the traffic on our roads, people will still need to get from their homes and offices to the highway.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

Travel models based on real-time data can analyze current road conditions and make adjustments for congestion, sending drivers away from busy areas and toward less congested alternatives.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

AI is also helping to make our roads safer. Self-driving cars, tested in the UK and California by Waymo, an autonomous car division of Google parent Alphabet Inc., are equipped with sensors that allow them to detect objects like pedestrians or bicycles. The cars can even detect the color of a traffic signal. The sensors are connected to powerful computers that allow the cars to "see" everything around them, including weather conditions like fog and rain, day or night and even go off-road. AI has also been used by Tesla in its Autopilot feature, which monitors things like road lines; other vehicles; and the cars around it to keep drivers alert and make safer decisions.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

How Artificial Intelligence is Making Transport Cleaner in Emerging Markets?

It's estimated that there are over three lakh 10-year-old diesel vehicles in Delhi¹, the capital of India. One way to reduce pollution from these vehicles is to make them more efficient with the help of AI.

AI is being used by some companies to upgrade existing engines; others are developing new types of engines and powertrains designed specifically with AI in mind. These could allow cars to drive at different speeds more efficiently and adjust for things like temperature, traffic and the terrain ahead.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

Many companies are using AI to analyze and reduce the number of engine vibrations caused by things like poor fuel quality, old tires, or worn parts. Setting a target vibration rate can help the vehicle detect and adjust for changes in engine condition to reduce vibrations before they are felt by the driver. AI is also being used to monitor oil pressure, fuel flow and brake wear.

In addition, AI algorithms have been used with cameras on drones and self-driving cars to identify potholes; both of these systems can then report this information to the proper authorities.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

How Artificial Intelligence is Making Transport Reliable in Emerging Markets?

In developed nations, transportation authorities sometimes create intricate networks of roads and highways across their countryside; however, they are not always efficient. Changing traffic conditions and the irregular shape of roads are reasons why it is difficult to predict or plan for travel times.

This problem can be addressed with AI in two ways: traffic monitoring and predictive analytics. One good example of this type of AI is Waze, an app that uses mobile phone signals to calculate routes based on the current traffic conditions. The data-gathering technology is similar to that used by geolocation services such as Google Maps - the difference being that Google Maps relies on a user's input, whereas Waze uses AI.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

AI technologies are also able to analyze data about traffic lights, accidents and construction zones in order to plan better routes for drivers. By combining existing methods of monitoring traffic with AI, transportation authorities can create real-time travel plans based on real situations and not ideal conditions; their algorithms can also predict when there will be a break in traffic or an accident ahead.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

How Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Can Help Weave Autonomous Vehicles Together

In addition to cooperating with other cars on the road, self-driving vehicles need to be able to communicate with transportation authorities as well. For example, there will likely always be a need for traffic signals; however, in many areas they are already being transformed into Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) that collect and share information about traffic, weather and road conditions.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

ITS systems are being designed to include AI; these can diagnose traffic problems with the help of cameras, sensors and algorithms that monitor things like traffic volume, vehicle speed and flow. AI is also being used in connection with transportation signal systems; due to its ability to manage large amounts of information and make quick decisions, it is able to analyze data about traffic flow, weather patterns and road conditions in order to optimize signal timing.

The many ways that AI can be utilized in transportation systems create an exciting opportunity for emerging markets with large cities. By developing smart infrastructure solutions that are based on the latest technology, nations around the world can solve some of their most pressing problems.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

AI is having and already had a tremendous impact on transportation in developed nations. In emerging markets, the way people travel could be transformed as well - not just through the improved infrastructure being put into place, but also by changing how people approach their daily commute. As with many other aspects of day-to-day life, transportation systems will rely on new digital tools and techniques to make them more efficient, reliable and safe.

The promise of a brighter future for transport in emerging markets is certainly exciting - but it's also important to note that AI has its limitations. For example, the algorithms used by transportation authorities today do not have access to all of the information that human beings do. They help to create more efficient, reliable and safe travel routes; but there's no guarantee that the app or computer will know what to do in every situation.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

For example, if an accident or obstruction occurs that transportation authorities did not foresee, their algorithms may direct vehicles into potentially dangerous situations. In addition, computers can be hacked and manipulated, potentially causing traffic chaos. Humans can make mistakes too, but there is an advantage in having human operators involved with transportation; they are able to use their instincts and deductive reasoning skills when a situation arises that isn't covered by the standard procedures.

As emerging markets grow and develop economically, transportation systems will need to change along with them. And AI won't just make things easier for passengers; it will also create more opportunities and jobs for drivers, as transportation authorities can offer more reliable routes and schedules. Countries that embrace AI are likely to see positive changes in their economies, as well as the quality of life of their citizens.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

Road users may not need to worry about being replaced by computers and robots - but they will need to become more familiar with how AI works. By learning about the latest developments in transportation technology, they can have a much better idea of how self-driving vehicles operate. Perhaps importantly, they will be able to anticipate any potential problems that are likely to arise; this way, they'll be prepared when the time comes.

The future of transportation in emerging markets like India is certainly bright - but if AI is used responsibly and ethically, it can be better than we imagine.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

AI is Becoming an Important Part of the Transportation Industry

Take the example of the Airline industry. In 2019, the number of scheduled passengers boarded by the global airline industry was just over 4.5 billion² and in 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the number dropped to just 1.7 billion. This means that there are a lot of flights and one major reason why artificial intelligence in transportation has become very important.

Airlines, airports, and related services need to be able to process vast amounts of data every day. This is why artificial intelligence systems have proven to be so helpful in this sector of the transportation industry as well.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

But What are Some Major Challenges of Implementing Artificial Intelligence Technologies in India?

As per PwC's Global Artificial Intelligence Study³, artificial intelligence may provide as much as $15.7 trillion in global value-add to businesses and economies by the year 2030. The greatest economic gains from AI will be in China (26% boost to GDP in 2030) and North America (14.5% boost), equivalent to a total of $10.7 trillion and accounting for almost 70% of the global economic impact.

China is expected to lead the way in developing and implementing AI technologies. The Chinese government's commitment to advancing its technology sector, coupled with a large talent pool of data scientists, has set it on a path toward being an early adopter of AI. China will also see faster adoption in all industries due to greater awareness and more accessible tools such as open-source.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

But in India, it's a different story altogether. At present, artificial intelligence is not very widespread in India and it has a lot of scope to grow and expand here. There are still many challenges that can potentially act as barriers for the growth of AI in India. Let us take a look at some of those challenges which could slow down the pace of deployment or adoption of artificial intelligence in our country.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

1) Lack of A National AI Plan:

While there are still many challenges that exist when it comes to the implementation and adoption of artificial intelligence in India, we have not invested much time and effort in thinking about why we should do it or how to go about doing it.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

2) Infrastructure:

The number of servers available in India today is not enough, which is why we need to invest in the infrastructure first off. We can have a lot of research done when it comes to artificial intelligence, provided we invest more money and resources in developing the right architecture.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

3) Lack of Professional Data Scientists:

A new technology like artificial intelligence cannot go well with the absence of professional data scientists to develop it. This has led to a lot of companies not developing anything in artificial intelligence just because they cannot find the right talent.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

4) Lack of Common Language:

While most countries around the world are using English as their common language, in India, we still have a lot of regional languages to deal with. It is very necessary to use the same language when communicating with machines. This is also one reason why many researchers and innovators have started to avoid artificial intelligence for now.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

5) High Cost of Development:

We have not invested much money in artificial intelligence either and all the major players in this space like Google, Microsoft, Facebook as well as Apple have enough financial backing to carry on their research without any issue. In India, we are lagging behind when it comes to investing in development for artificial intelligence.

6) Cyber Attacks:

When countries like China, Russia along with the US have shown their interest in having systems which are integrated with artificial intelligence, it becomes important for India to stay on top of its game. The government should not wait for an artificial intelligence attack before it decides to invest in this technology as well.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

7) Poor Internet Infrastructure:

We have seen how India has not been able to provide a proper internet infrastructure and this makes it hard for use of this technology. The government should also invest in creating better internet infrastructure at the same time.

8) No Collaboration:

There is no collaboration between policymakers and companies when it comes to development of artificial intelligence in India. There have been a lot of failures due to fragmented efforts by both sides, and this is why the government should create a dialog so that they can find out how to move forward with regard to this technology together.

9) Lack of Awareness:

There is still a lot of lack of awareness about what artificial intelligence can do as well as how it is helping the society. There are many organizations in India which have started using AI for their business requirements, but they still choose to keep things under wraps because there exists a lot of fear and doubt about this technology.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

10) Success Story of Tesla:

If we look at Elon Musk's companies like Tesla and SpaceX, then it becomes obvious that India should focus on developing proper infrastructure and a resilient architecture for artificial intelligence.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

And With That The History of AI...

Artificial intelligence, commonly known as AI, is a field of computer science that builds intelligent machines that can think and act like humans. The scope of AI includes areas such as robotics, speech recognition technology, consumer product recommendations or search engine optimization (SEO).

The two most influential scientists in the development of artificial intelligence were John McCarthy (pictured here) and Marvin Minsky, co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AI laboratory. Both of these men were involved in the development of AI from its very beginning at a 1956 Dartmouth College summer workshop where they first coined the term "artificial intelligence."

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

Both McCarthy and Minsky (pictured here) envisioned a time when this technology would become so advanced that it may surpass humans in terms of ability, and that AI could be developed and used for practical purposes as well as scientific ones.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

AI - The First Commercially Available Product

While AI is still in its infancy today, it was first used commercially in 1965 by a company called SDC, which stands for Systems Development Corporation. SDC had been contracted by the U.S. Air Force to create an automated system that would assist analysts reviewing surveillance tapes of potential enemy activity. The system would track and identify objects of interest, such as military weapons or equipment in the surveillance footage.

What AI Means For The Future Of Transport In India

Jobo's Corner: Thank you for reading. If you think this article is interesting, feel free to share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedln and other social media. And if you have something to add or have questions about Artificial intelligence (AI) Making Transport Safer, Cleaner and More Reliable in Emerging Markets. Should India Adopt? then please comment on the article in the comment box below. I would like to read your thoughts...

*This is an opinion piece by the author. The thoughts expressed in this article are the opinions of the author alone.


1. There are more than three lakh 10-year-old diesel vehicles...

2. Statistics on the number of scheduled passengers boarded by the global airline industry

3. PwC's Global Artificial Intelligence Study

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Read more on: #offbeat
Article Published On: Wednesday, August 11, 2021, 20:48 [IST]
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