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Dubai to deploy artificial intelligence tech to identify cyclists riding without helmets

Technology will also be able to assess capacity of cycle tracks and speed of riders

Dubai is to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) systems on cycle tracks in the emirate which, among other things, will be able to identify cyclists riding without helmets, which are compulsory there.

The technology has been developed for the emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) by local company Evoteq, which is also involved in areas such as surveillance and facial recognition.

It is being showcased as a proof of concept, including through a live demonstration, at the RTA’s stand at GITEX Technology Week 2021, currently taking place in Dubai.

The first deployment of the technology has taken place at the Nad al Sheba cycle track, and besides being able to detect whether a rider is wearing a helmet, it will also be able to determine capacity and riding speeds.

Mohammed Yousuf Al Mudharreb, CEO of RTA’s Corporate Technology Support Services Sector, said, “In designing the Smart Cycling Track, next-generation technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence have been used.

“The data gathered by this high-tech AI enabled platform will be leveraged to detect cyclists, joyriders, including joggers, and scooter riders, on the track and determine the current track occupancy.

“The smart solution also identifies the speed at which the cyclists are traveling and detects if they are wearing a helmet.

“Moreover, further trend analysis will allow the collected data to predict and prevent critical cycling incidents like crowded tracks and accidents, and alert authorities of increased risk conditions based on the collected data.”

He continued: “With the city’s aim of becoming the most cycling friendly city, the use of next-generation technologies is essential as cycling is not only a sport but also a vital link to serve first and last mile mobility needs.

“Technology today is a vital tool to enhance mobility means and make it smart and safe meets RTA’s vision; ‘The world leader in seamless & sustainable mobility’, he added.

As of the end of last year, Dubai had built nearly 500 kilometres of segregated cycle tracks and aims to increase that to 739 kilometres by 2026, with the aim of linking key locations in the emirate with public transport links.

Evoteq’s CEO, Jihad Tayara, said: “Throughout the first phase of the PoC implementation, we focused on the utilisation of the latest AI and IoT technologies to validate the viability of the solution by building and testing four key features: cyclist detection, helmet detection, speed and total occupancy.

“As a following step, we've developed an extended project roadmap for the complete track journey for cyclists, which aims to improve their safety and experience.

“In Dubai, the solution will help boost the government’s efforts to make the emirate a bicycle-friendly city, as well as promote cycling as a form of sport and fitness activity,” he added.

“We are committed to supporting the government’s road safety initiatives, in line with the vision of our wise leadership.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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