India

IIT Madras hackathon crowns Team Safety Guardians for ADAS innovation


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. The year 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 have emerged. These include adaptive cruise control, attention monitoring systems, collision mitigating systems, parking assist, etc., all of which have collectively contributed to reducing the impact of crashes. In India, the adoption of such technology requires a study of road user behavior (driver and pedestrians). It also involves examining vehicle control features that can be monitored or influenced, aiming to develop 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 were developed and showcased during the finals at IIT Madras. These projects include a smart helmet, a LiDAR-based Lane discipline system, sensor-based safety systems for hilly regions, and two-wheeler safety systems.

PRIZE-WINNING TEAMS

The first prize was awarded to Team Safety Guardians from Chalapathi Institute of Technology, IIIT Nuzvid, and IIT Bombay. They were recognized for their work on the 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 actively detects a potential crash when the vehicle falls. It then sends an alert using a phone.

Team Safety Sentinels from IIT Roorkee received the first runner-up prize. Moreover, they developed a 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. They have improved their system to identify lanes in situations where lane markings have faded or are absent.

Team Tons of Tech from Prince Shri Venkateshwara Engineering College received the second runner-up prize. They received recognition for their project, 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. The system would then relay this information to a master system, which would 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. It aims 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. The goal is 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. More and more electronic components are integrating into vehicles, and we can expect significant development in these components. Specifically, this development will be focused on improving safety. This hackathon is a great starting point. Indian traffic conditions will give us a lot more challenges and insights. Solving them will provide us with solutions for a majority of the world. Moreover, 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 actively contributing to reducing the potential loss of 1.5 lakh lives due to road crashes over the next few years.”

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