RTA employs AI in taxis to curb spread of COVID-19

Photo: WAM

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority, RTA, announced that the use of Artificial Intelligence, AI, technologies, such as computer vision and machine learning algorithms, proved very effective in detecting and reporting violations of the coronavirus, COVID-19 preventive measures.

Such monitoring covers physical distancing and wearing of face masks onboard taxis, whether for passengers or drivers.

"AI technologies have been employed to monitor and verify the compliance with the preventive measures undertaken to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The technology can also report offences such as the failure to observe physical distancing, and the improper wearing of face masks, thanks to video analysis feature," said Ahmed Mahboub, Executive Director of Smart Services, Corporate Technology Support Services Sector, RTA.

"The use of AI technologies achieved a success rate of 100 percent. The introduction of this technology was on a trial base, and according to the deliverables, the technology will be generalised to all fleet vehicles," Mahboub said.

"The experiment highlighted the capability of AI technology in processing video files spanning 200,000 hours a day. Thus, it reduces the need for human intervention and saves much time and effort that would have otherwise been necessary to analyse these videos," he noted.

Explaining the functionality of onboard devices, Mahboub said, "AI devices were programmed to scan human faces and verify if the mask is worn correctly. The technology has a mathematical feature that calculates the distance between passengers and the driver as well."

"The RTA is continuing its efforts to play a leading role in implementing the 4th Industrial Revolution technologies in line with the UAE Artificial Intelligence Strategy. The overall objective is to harness technologies to serve the community and realise the RTA’s vision of Safe and Smooth Transport for All," Mahboub said in conclusion.

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