Can AI do more than end car accidents? The potential is there. – News 24

This article is the latest in a limited series on the potential of artificial intelligence to solve everyday problems.

Every year, about 1.35 million people die in accidents on the world’s roads and up to 50 million more are seriously injured, according to the World Health Organization. In the United States, the death toll has risen significantly during the pandemic, leading to the largest six-month rise, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Speeding, distraction, impaired driving and not wearing a seat belt were the main causes.

Artificial intelligence is already being used to improve driving safety: mobile applications that control driving behavior and reward safe drivers with benefits and connected vehicles that communicate with each other and with road infrastructure.

But what awaits us? Can AI do what humans can’t? And will technology develop before the proliferation of autonomous cars?

“In my opinion, there’s too much hype around artificial intelligence, road safety and autonomous vehicles; it’s very inflated,” said David Ward, president of the Global New Car Assessment Program, an organization non-profit based in London. The focus, he said, should be on “low fruit, not a distant utopian promise.”

Advocates like Mr. Ward are turning to the beneficial and low-cost intermediate technologies that are available now. A good example is Intelligent Speed ​​Assist, or ISA, which uses AI to manage the speed of a car using cameras and maps on board. The technology will be mandatory on all new vehicles in the European Union from July, but has not yet taken root in the United States.

Acusensus, based in Australia, is among the companies that use artificial intelligence to deal with road safety. Its “smart-eyed” cameras, as Acusensus calls them, use high-resolution images along with machine learning to identify dangerous driving behaviors that are often difficult to detect and apply.

“We have technology that can save lives,” said Mark Etzbach, the company’s vice president of sales for North America.

Etzbach said the patent-pending technology, which unlike the human eye is not affected by weather conditions or high speeds, can visualize and record behavior inside the vehicle. The cameras can be installed on existing road infrastructure, such as overpasses, traffic signals or mobile structures. The images are then optimized for AI, which is trained with specific settings.

According to the company, Acusensus algorithms can determine with a high degree of probability whether a particular driver has risky behavior. “We can assess distraction,” Etzbach said. “We can assess occupant restraint. We can estimate the speed of the vehicle. We can examine three behaviors at once. More than 90% of behaviors occur below the board. »

This technology would give law enforcement the ability to see clearly if a driver has something in addition to the steering wheel, such as a telephone, perhaps, and if that driver is looking down to send text messages to someone. (An invisible flash allows clear penetration of the windshield.)

The technology was developed by Acusensus co-founder Alexander Jannink after a friend and fellow software engineer was killed while riding a bicycle in 2013. A disability that was also distracting, “Etzbach said.

The company’s flagship product, Heads Up, was first launched in 2019 in New South Wales, Australia. The Heads-Up system captures images that are then reviewed by authorities to determine the likelihood of a violation. In the first two years, according to the company, the state saw a 22% reduction in deaths and a reduction in telephone use of more than 80%. The technology is currently being implemented in New South Wales and Queensland, with additional pilot projects elsewhere in Australia and abroad.

The next iteration of the technology, Real-Time Warning, is scheduled for deployment in the United States. Data and images would be sent in real time to agents in patrol cars, which they could then view on laptops.

“It’s about being able to take advantage of technology and artificial intelligence in this case, to help us better understand what people are doing behind the wheel that can endanger them and others,” said Pam Shadel Fischer, director. senior external engagement of the Governors Highway Safety Association, a non-profit organization representing state road safety offices. “We believe there is real potential here.”

CreditJuan Carlos Pagan

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