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17 August, 2019 12:43:43 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 17 August, 2019 06:01:13 PM

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Artificial intelligence to help better manage Dhaka

Faisal Mahmud, Dhaka
Artificial intelligence to help better manage Dhaka

To an average Dhaka resident, artificial intelligence (AI) may seem like a loaded term conjuring up images of a malicious Skynet system from the ‘Terminator’ movie franchise. However, the reality is not that ominous.

In fact, a large number of citizens in the capital are already using AI in their day-to-day lives for the last few years. The latest smartphones in thier pockets have a lot of AI features. But Dhaka will soon start using AI in various sectors including smart city management, traffic monitoring, healthcare and many more.

This seems unrealistic in the present context of this city of 17 million, but experts believe that changing the sorry state of various service sectors is the main underlying reason behind this planned adaptation of AI in the city. Only a few companies here are currently working on developing AI-based systems and devices. Founded by Shamim Ahsan, former president of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), eGeneration Ltd has been acting as a front-runner in introducing AI-based systems to the capital.

Shamim Ahsan told The Independent that AI technologies could be put to use in different sectors. “From eGeneration, we are making a natural language processor (NLP) for Bangla that will integrate machine learning and AI,” he said. He also said that they were just doing one of the preliminary works based on AI. “The potential is endless. One of the largest areas for growth through AI is smart city planning and smart infrastructure,” he explained.

Cities like Dhaka, where a large number of people live in a relatively small area, may hold the key to determining just how AI fits into these areas, he said. Shamim also said smart cities were developed around citizens’ needs. He further said public safety will also be improved as AI systems can predict and take action during any emergencies.

“For instance, once a traffic accident is detected, the automated response management system takes over and communicates to the relevant authorities to take further action. Furthermore, AI systems that are built taking into account citizens’ perspectives and participation cannot only help in making a more cohesive environment, but can also assist citizens in making smarter choices,” he elaborated.

Shamim, however, said: “This still seems like a dream to us, but things like this are already being implemented in different cities in the West. We need to train people in new AI-related skills, which are currently absent in our university curriculum.”

He also said that eGeneration Ltd was consulting Bangladeshi expatriates working in the Silicon Valley IT companies in the US to find cost-effective and implementable AI-based solutions for Dhaka.

Shehzad Noor Taus, a young Bangladeshi engineer from in the Deep Learning Division of the world renowned NVIDIA, is already working with eGeneration Ltd to figure out the possible AI-based solutions for Dhaka.

Taus visited Dhaka and attended a seminar on the potential of AI in Dhaka, organised by eGeneration Ltd. He said one of the practical and implementable AI-based solutions for Dhaka as well as Bangladesh would be a road-monitoring system.

“An intelligent system can address the issue through the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS). There are solutions such as driver drowsiness detection. Here the AI tool detects whether the driver is falling asleep and will be able to alert the driver to take a stop to rest,” he explained.

Another technology, called Dynamic Speed Adaptation (DSA) technology, offers remote speed advice to drivers about appropriate speeding limits in particular stretches of roads. Its trials have already been conducted in Sweden and the Netherlands.

“We have seen that cameras of every kind are already proliferating at an incredible rate to measure speed over long distances. CCTV cameras may be installed at all traffic signals to read number plates of vehicles and instantly compare them to a national database. This means that illegal vehicles can be intercepted to bring criminals to a speedy justice,” said Taus. The young Bangladeshi engineer also said there was a lot of interest in autonomous driving, with significant investments announced by companies and governments in this area. “But we are several years away from full autonomy. Currently, we need to invest in our drivers to improve road safety,” he added. Fortunately, he said, much of the technology and learning from the area of autonomous driving can be transferred to improve the manned vehicle experience.

High-definition cameras and onboard sensors are used to capture the environment around the driver and the vehicle. This information is analysed in real time, using powerful integrated processors and deep learning algorithms. Any unsafe event or incidents of concern that are detected and analysed are sent to the monitoring centre along with the relevant video and sensor information.

“This includes intelligent detection of events such as traffic light violation, lane departure, tailgating, sign violations and relative speeding alongside classic inertial detections of hard braking, hard acceleration and hard turns,” he said.

These solutions would help the monitoring centre to keep a close watch on vehicles  and react in real time, thus reducing the possibility of risky driving, he added.

IK

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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