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IIT Madras' Centre of Excellence for Road Safety concludes national-level Hackathon to develop India-specific ADAS products

IIT Madras' Centre of Excellence for Road Safety concludes national-level Hackathon to develop India-specific ADAS products

  • 22nd Dec 2023
  • Press Release

Indian Institute of Technology Madras' (IIT Madras) Centre of Excellence for Road Safety (CoERS) has successfully concluded Road Safety Hackathon 2023 aimed at developing India-specific Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) solutions.

The Hackathon was organised with support from HL Mando Anand India Limited and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. It commenced in early 2023 with 47 teams as initial participants. After multiple rounds of evaluation by academia and industry experts, six teams could qualify for the finale.

In the grand finale held recently, participants from several colleges across India presented their solutions and provided live product demonstrations.

The imperative behind the initiative was rooted in the alarming statistics of road traffic crashes in 2021, which recorded 4,12,432 crashes, resulting in 1,53,972 fatalities and 3,84,448 injuries. Driver error accounted for a significant 84% of crashes (80.3% of fatalities, and 83.9% of injuries) in motorized vehicles in 2016. Despite ongoing efforts by stakeholders to mitigate accidents, the numbers persistently rise each year.

While safer roads have been designed, the importance of developing safer vehicles remains paramount. Advent of several active and passive safety features have greatly contributed to the reduction in fatalities and crashes. However, increase in traffic volumes, and risky driving behaviour of drivers continue to pose a challenge in reducing the accidents.

With the advent of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), numerous new safety technologies namely adaptive cruise control, attention monitoring system, collision mitigating system, parking assist etc., have reduced the impact of the crash. In India, the adoption of such technology requires study of road user behaviour (driver and pedestrians) and vehicle control features that can be monitored/ influenced towards developing products to improve road safety. The Hackathon was devised for college students and young professionals to participate and contribute towards developing safer automobile products.

Various projects such as a smart helmet, a LiDAR-based Lane discipline system, sensor-based safety systems for hilly regions and, two-wheeler safety systems were developed and showcased during the finals at IIT Madras.

PRIZE-WINNING TEAMS

The first prize was awarded to Team Safety Guardians from Chalapathi Institute of Technology, IIIT Nuzvid, and IIT Bombay for Bike Safety Enhancement System. They presented a safety system for two-wheelers that utilised IMU to determine rash driving and generate an alert. The system is also designed to detect a potential crash if the vehicle falls and sends an alert using a phone.

The first runner up prize was awarded to Team Safety Sentinels from IIT Roorkee for Real Time Lane Departure Warning System. They presented a LiDAR-based system that would identify when a vehicle is not following lane discipline on the roads. Their system is improved to identify lanes in situations where lane markings have faded or are absent.

The second runner up prize was awarded to Team Tons of Tech from Prince Shri Venkateshwara Engineering College for Assistance for First Responders. They demonstrated a connected radio-based system that would determine the location and direction of first responders such as ambulances using specific radio bands and relay them to a master system which would then adjust traffic signals suitably on the route. The system aims to enable for first responders to reach their destinations on time.

This Hackathon is the inaugural event in a series of initiatives by CoERS, aiming to foster an ecosystem in road safety by engaging students, young professionals, and forging government and industrial partnerships.

Through this Hackathon, CoERS aims to foster a co-creation ecosystem in road safety by engaging students and young professionals, to forge Government, academia and industrial partnership.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, "At IIT Madras, we focus on solving problems in our local areas as we believe that local relevance will bring us global excellence. India stands out because our entrepreneurs look out to solve social problems. I am sure this hackathon would have given the participants great insights into solving practical problems. With more and more electronic components being integrated into vehicles, we will see a lot more development in these components, specifically from a safety point of view. This hackathon is a great starting point. Indian traffic conditions will give us a lot more challenges and insights and solving them will provide us with solutions for a majority of the world. I hope for the participants to become entrepreneurs to solve problems for India."

Addressing the gathering, Mr. R. Sudhakar, Additional Commissioner (Traffic), Greater Chennai Police, said, "An accident can completely change the life of a family. Deaths on our roads are no longer viewed as merely a statistic and this has led to a lot of changes and innovations such as this hackathon. It is not just the numbers that matter but what these developments can do to serve a family. I hope the prototypes developed here can hit the roads soon so that there will be fewer fatalities on the road."

Sharing his thoughts, Shri. S. Sarathi, Group President, Anand Group, Joint Managing Director, M/S HLMAIL, said, "When it comes to the number of accidents and fatalities on the road, any number other than zero is unacceptable. The cost of the individual life lost due to fatalities and even disabilities due to crashes is unthinkable. This hackathon is encouraging youngsters to come up with creative solutions to serve the society better. I thank CoERS and IIT Madras for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this hackathon to give back to society."

The key outcomes targeted from this hackathon include:

- Identification of key areas in vehicle systems that require automated intervention.

- Inculcate and nurture co-creation ecosystem for the design and development of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) to reduce human errors while driving.

Elaborating further, Prof Venkatesh Balasubramanian, Head, CoERS and Professor, RBG Labs, Department of Engineering Design, IIT Madras, who is leading this initiative, said, "The CoERS is building capacity across organizations and departments. Human Factors play a crucial role in designing effective systems and products that help deskill the process and upskill the drivers in India. Our intent with the hackathon has been to identify young talent, issue them with challenges, and see how they could be trained to develop products that could potentially save lives. I want to thank the participants for their involvement to help bring down the 1.5 lakh lives that may have been lost due to road crashes over the next few years.

ABOUT CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE IN ROAD SAFETY (COERS)

The Centre of Excellence in Road Safety (CoERS) at IIT Madras is funded by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Government of India to improve road safety through evidence-based, integrated approach. CoERS works on various aspects of human factors engineering, road engineering and vehicle engineering to bring about significant improvements in road safety globally. This CoE also advices various stakeholders and Governments to bring about a data-driven systems approach to road safety.