The death of 20-year-old Anjali Singh, who was hit and dragged for several kilometres by a car in outer Delhi in the early hours of January 1, shocked the entire nation, and days later, there are also questions about road safety, as well as the usage of technology to prevent such horrific incidents.
The traumatic case may have happened days ago but on social media, people are still talking about it. Social media users are seeking justice for Anjali, sharing posts about what has been happening since January 1. They are looking into all the details of this case, including the background details of the victim and the culprits.
While videos and photos related to the incident are still being shared on different platforms and concerns have been raised about the safety of women in Delhi, some believe that it is also a case of road safety and something like this could happen to anyone if right measures are not taken at the earliest.
The real issue
Srijan Pal Singh, who was the adviser for policy and technology to President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, took to social media and said, “The #Delhi hit and run case needs to be looked at from the lens of road safety & not be made into a gender issue”.
He told News18: “Approximately 200,000 lives are lost annually to road accidents. Our focus should be on how to make road safety a priority. This case does not seem to be an issue of violence targeted at any specific social group but a more pervasive issue of safe driving."
In his tweet, Singh highlighted that such incidents can be solved by using technology. While explaining further he told News18 that to prevent such incidents from taking place in India, recruiting more police personnel seems a good option, but the real solution may lie in technological investment.
Finding the cause and fixing it
According to Singh, most accidents happen due to speeding, poor road conditions, breaking traffic rules, driving under the influence of alcohol, or when a driver is asleep.
Here it should be noted that there were claims about Anjali being drunk on the night of the accident, but it was said that the autopsy report showed no signs of her having alcohol. Meanwhile, it was reported that according to the FIR, 2 of the 5 accused were drunk.
However, while talking about how technology could play a role in such situations, Singh pointed out that GPS-enabled speed regulators can be used to limit the speed of vehicles automatically in a busy urban area and at certain times.
Additionally, he said: “AI-enabled tracking of vehicles and immediate action/notification, alarm system for tracking separation of hand from the steering wheel, wireless sensors in the helmet to track usage and any trauma, smart street lighting are just a few solutions which exist already. Our entrepreneurs can be engaged to develop and deploy more such technologies under a special startup programme.”
Road safety tech
News18 spoke to CEO & Executive Director at MapmyIndia, Rohan Verma, whose company has been providing safety solutions to make India’s roads safe for citizens. He stated that many of the road accidents that have been happening could be avoided by using road safety tech.
He said that MapmyIndia’s Mappls app and automotive technologies can be used by drivers, passengers or passersby which will help them to avoid such incidents. Verma also talked about some of the tech solutions that can assist people while driving.
For example, according to Verma: “Mappls App & automotive infotainment/navigation systems show the users the current road’s speed limit, so that the user is aware and doesn’t over speed. During navigation, it doesn’t just give turn instructions and traffic info, but also shows upcoming accident-prone zones, potholes, sharp curves, speed breakers - so that users can drive in a more alert manner when there are upcoming hazards.”
Furthermore, he talked about the Mappls Gadgets, especially Vehicle Trackers and Dash Cameras. According to him, “This remotely shows the user the speed and location and driving behaviour of the vehicle based on GPS and also shows the real-time and historical video of the view from the car and of inside the cabin - so that one can ascertain the speed of the vehicle, whose fault the accident was, whether the driver was asleep or inebriated, etc.”
While explaining he also pointed out that MapmyIndia provides detailed historical and predictive geo-tagged reports, maps, videos, 360-degree panoramic RealView maps or high-definition HD 3D map data and APIs and real-time dashboards to government authorities, fleet owners, as well as logistics, taxi, e-commerce, and delivery companies.
This data helps people to know about where such road safety and accident-prone issues are, and on which exact stretches of roads, said Verma while adding that authorities can fix roads and potholes, and others can plan to avoid such stretches using the technology. He believes that the usage of any of these tech solutions “can be a game changer for road safety”.
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