India’s 1st road safety robot launched

ST CORRESPONDENT
Thursday, 17 January 2019

“The R&D for the concept was done by our Chennai team, after which six students from the centre in Pune and a few from the Thane centre worked on it to create the robot. All the students are from Class VII and VIII,” said Sandeep Gautam, Pune centre head, SP Robotics Maker Lab.

Pune: In an effort to solve the ever-increasing traffic menace on city roads, a group of students from Pune and Thane have created India’s first road safety robot. The robot will take care of the traffic woes at the city’s main crossroads. If successful, this project could work wonders to relieve the traffic police of the pressure to control tremendous amount of traffic every day on busy city roads.

Named as ‘Roadeo’, the robot was launched in the city by SP Robotics Maker Lab in association with the Pune traffic police. On demo basis, it will also be placed at four to five major signals in the city soon.

“The R&D for the concept was done by our Chennai team, after which six students from the centre in Pune and a few from the Thane centre worked on it to create the robot. All the students are from Class VII and VIII,” said Sandeep Gautam, Pune centre head, SP Robotics Maker Lab.

The robot has a screen and a chest display in the centre on which traffic rules would be displayed prominently for commuters. The robots will be placed on the zebra crossings, barring the people from crossing the line while waiting at the red light. This is a safety robot that will be deployed to help pedestrians, especially children, to cross the roads safely. It can either be integrated with the traffic signals or be operated manually. 

“Just like traffic police managing the traffic with their hands, ‘Roadio’ will be able to control the traffic, while traffic police will control the robot with a mobile device. This way, instead of the police standing in the hot sun all day long trying to direct the commuters, he/she will be able to stand or sit under the shade, while handling the traffic remotely with help from ‘Roadio’. It has also been programmed to interact with the people,” Gautam added.

Gautam also said that research is being carried out to make autonomously functioning robots as well, but there is still a very long way to go for that. The students and the experts will be working further on the project to make the robot more useful to the public.

Aadi Kanchankar, Parth Kulkarni and Shruten Pande from Class VIII, and Rachit Jain, Shourya Singh and Vinayak Krishna from Class VII are the students from Pune centre who formed the team that created the robot. While the students have been taking coaching in robotics at the centre, for the project, they were provided with special training.

On asked if a robot placed in the middle of the road like that, or at the side of a road for that matter, is subject to risks of getting hit by berserk riders and drivers, especially in a city like Pune, infamous for its traffic situation, Gautam answered, “That is why, at least on pilot basis, we are placing the robot only in the larger crossroads with major signals and comparatively wider roads if possible. Once it is tried and tested, we will think about how to make it work in the rest of the city.”

DCP (Traffic) Tejaswi Satpute has supported the project and believes that robots like these will definitely help in reducing the strenuous human effort involved in day-to-day traffic management.

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