IMC Newsdesk

Dubai uses AI to monitor taxi drivers

  • July 21, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) is using artificial intelligence to monitor the behaviour of taxi drivers. The step aims to identify weaknesses in the professional performance of taxi drivers while behind the wheel.
 
The RTA started to use AI to monitor the conduct of taxi drivers in collaboration with Dubai-based Acacus Technologies, the developer of the smart cameras installed in Dubai taxis. This project aims to verify the compliance of taxi drivers with the applicable rules and regulations as regards the safety of both the driver and passengers.
 
Unlike surveillance cameras fitted to taxis to verify complaints from passengers, this technology is a proactive measure to know the driver’s on-road behaviour on the spot.
 
“Through this technology, we can figure out the performance of the driver on the road in a continuous manner,” said Khaled Al-Awadhi, director of transportation at the RTA. “It helps us to send alerts to drivers or subject them to rehabilitation courses in case of repeated violations such as speeding, sudden stopping or unnecessary use of brakes.”
 
The AI technologies pinpoint factors that prompt drivers to make unacceptable practices.
 
“We take into consideration the road condition or other circumstances triggering such conducts,” said Al-Awadhi. “The technology enables us to be fully transparent and objective in taking appropriate action against the driver.”
 
The quality of images about driver’s on-road behaviour captured by the AI systems and transmitted to the monitoring centre for analysis is as high as 99.92%. The RTA is working with Acacus to raise the quality of such images to 99.98%, improve the notification system and carry out a comprehensive assessment of drivers’ performance assisted by AI technologies.
 
“We pride ourselves in cooperating with RTA, one of the biggest government entities in Dubai and the UAE and places much emphasis on the comfort and happiness of taxi riders,” said Talal Ben Halim, founder and CEO of Acacus Technologies. “Taxis are a means of transport that have to maintain privacy and deliver high-level safety and quality services in line with RTA’s vision of safe and smooth transport for all.”
 
The technology will also monitor the conduct of drivers and riders as regards to compliance with precautionary measures to fight coronavirus such as the physical distancing and the wearing of face masks.”
 
The RTA has previously used AI technologies, such as computer vision and machine-learning algorithms, in detecting and reporting violations of preventive measures undertaken to fight Covid-19. Such monitoring covers physical distancing and wearing of face masks in taxis, whether for passengers or drivers.