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View from India: IT companies tap AI for smart solutions

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is enhancing the IT landscape in India and large tech corporations are constantly working on innovative solutions for their clients.

Going beyond client deliverables, it’s only natural that companies turn to AI to meet their own requirements. This is understandable, as AI also brings with it many additional technologies such as machine learning and augmented reality, with multiple use cases including smart transport and carbon neutrality.

Intel India partnered with the Government of Karnataka (GoK) in 2017 to offer technical assistance for road safety measures as part of GoK’s Automotive Safety Innovation project. As technology advisor, Mobileye, an Intel company, provides software algorithms. In its first phase, school buses in parts of East Bangalore have been equipped with Collision Avoidance Systems (CAS) to identify potential accident spots.

Three types of zones have been identified: black spots are areas with fatalities, grey spots are ones that might be accident prone and white spots are declared as safe. The vehicle has visual analytics that provide real-time warnings while mapping the different zones. The data is stored in the cloud and all the information is aggregated.

“As per the Report on Road Accidents in India 2016, 17 deaths occur every hour and annually around 3.2 million people die in road accidents. It also makes a dent in the gross domestic product (GDP), whereby 3 per cent loss is incurred annually,” said Prasanna Banavara, engineering manager, I2R/ADAS, Intel Technologies India Pvt, addressing the audience at the CII IQ Anniversary and day seminar on ‘Artificial Intelligence: Machine Intelligence in the Real World’.

The vehicles have been integrated with AI technologies like machine learning and deep learning to get an insight into the surroundings. Further assistance comes from ‘Advanced Driver Assist Systems’ (ADAS) products like ‘Automatic Emergency Braking’ and ‘Lane Keeping Assistance’.

“We have included whatever trajectory is required for the vehicle to take multidimensional instructions and negotiate turns. Vehicles are equipped with intelligent information required to handle complex driving situations,” explained Banavara.

Now, GoK plans to take this project a few notches higher by using the technology ecosystem created over the last few months to improve the road safety infrastructure. The data can be used by city planners, the traffic department and state agencies to chalk out remedial measures that will lower the accident rate in the state.

A road safety initiative of this kind is an example of how traffic management can be improved using technology. Looking ahead, this is crucial because it is estimated that about 35 crore citizens from rural India are expected to migrate to urban India in the next 30 years. Clearly, this is a clarion call to safeguard our natural resources and decongest our roads. AI, along with related technologies, needs to be tapped for facilitating almost everything that it takes to create safe and clean driving. Broadly speaking, that includes noiseless vehicles, shared mobility and pollution-free alternate forms of fuel.

Moving beyond road safety, AI helps with predictive maintenance, along with real-time information. This is crucial to prevent accidents or failures within the system. The large-scale adoption of predictive analytics in corporate houses has led to the increasing use of sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) robotics and big-data analytics. Predictive analytics help to prevent downtime and, with that, reliability, low-cost maintenance and energy efficiency are factored in. No surprise that Infosys ranks among the early entrants to harness the potential of predictive maintenance. “We have 25 centres in various locations in the country, all of which occupy 40 mn sq feet. Since 2008, our employee strength has increased 143 per cent, prompting us to move to smart connected buildings. This has made the buildings 70 per cent more efficient because of a goal-driven data approach,” said Dr GK Raviprakash, principal, Advanced Engineering Group, Infosys, throwing light on the engineering data analytics that the company has used for predictive maintenance.

Ever since the company opted for a data-driven approach to optimise operations, it has resulted in the establishment of the ‘Central Command Center’ (CCC) in its headquarters in Bangalore. Technologies such as machine learning, predictive analytics and IoT help the company become more sustainable. Machines throw light on self-diagnose maintenance needs, trigger alerts and simulation tools help in making informed decisions.

This is how it works. The company’s data-driven approach, smart water metering and water-efficient fixtures help reduce energy and water consumption. A combination of big data, algorithms and AI techniques facilitate the process, while sensors help create smart lighting solutions and monitor data centres. “Over the last seven years, we have avoided the consumption of 900 million units of electricity; thereby, the per capita energy consumption is reduced by 46 per cent as compared to the 2008 levels. We have 14 LEED Platinum-rated buildings and have received 26 awards for energy efficiency,” added Dr Raviprakash.

All this points to Infosys’ 2011 commitment made to the United Nations to become carbon neutral, reduce per capita electricity consumption by 50 per cent against the baseline year 2008 and use 100 per cent renewable power for electricity by 2018-2019.

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