Toyota conducts road safety hackathon with IIT Delhi

Despite enhanced road safety gains from better-designed vehicles, occupant restraint laws, programs to discourage drink-driving and improvements to the road/traffic environment, road crashes continue to be a major cause of death, injury and damage to property while impacting 3 percent of GDP growth of the nation. In conjunction with increased effort on the application of these proven techniques, there is also a need to explore other ways to reduce the occurrence and impact of road crashes.
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This road safety hackathon forum of Toyota is intended to stimulate discussion and interest in the use of new technologies to increase the range of countermeasures available to traffic authorities and road users. They further claim that this initiative also promotes the right platform and encourages the future generation to gear-up in tackling such priority issues at high levels through the application of their learnings and technical knowledge.

The road safety hackathon session for digital solutions to the road safety problem appears to stem from three different conceptual approaches:

– Driver Behavior [Education]: Improving driver skills and building applications and/or simplistic devices that can be integrated to make driving much easier and efficient targeting both domestic as well as commercial drivers. Such improved and assistive technologies can prove to be highly beneficial in bringing down the number of accidents.

– Road Conditions [Infrastructure]: Bad road conditions are one of the most difficult problems to tackle with on-ground implementation because of the cost, labor and logistics needed. The objective is to look for some feasible digital solutions which could monitor and handle such problems more efficiently.

– Fraud Detection [Enforcement]: A majority of the accidents are caused by rookies and unauthorized drivers with violations such as underage drivers, drunken driving, drivers without appropriate licenses, and many more. The aim is to arrive at such applications that could be employed to make the task of analysing and detecting frauds on the roads easier.

In the initial stages of the hackathon program, a basic online test was conducted for all the participating students of class 9th – 12th from Delhi/NCR Schools. The finale consisted of 50 teams (two members a team) who were undergoing workshops on Road Safety. These teams were further trained on key basic technical skills coupled with enough resources to support them during the hackathon. Each team were allotted 36 hours to work on their innovative ideas with expertise guidance and mentoring during the process to finally arrive at a prototype or formulate a concrete idea on the road safety solution they were working on. Further, Toyota will incubate the students’ bright ideas to develop and nurture such implementable solutions in support of road safety cause.

Speaking on this initiative, Naveen Soni, vice president – Toyota Kirloskar Motor said, “At Toyota, we strongly believe in growing with the society. While primarily we are car manufacturers, our focus also remain at enriching lives of the community around us. We began our journey on the awareness program on road safety since 2007. This initiative is a one of its kind, as this is an amalgamation of technology aiding the cause of Road Safety. With the best of the young minds from the country with the support of IIT students and faculties coaching and mentoring the students, we are trying to develop implementable solutions which can help to address serious concerns we face on the Indian roads today. It is overwhelming to see many trained school children, through Toyota’s safety initiative [road safety training outreach of Toyota Safety Education Program], participating to showcase their learnings and new ideas on road safety, as a step-up.”

He further added, “As a company, we are committed to the cause of Road Safety. Our ultimate aim is to achieve ZERO FATALITY. This forum provides a broad sketch of the ways in which advanced technology is being developed to address road safety concerns. Further, the real-time application of the desired solutions will be looked at, in the long-run. We hope to see some great technological solutions transcending to safer road behaviour through this valuable engagement.”

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