Telangana, in collaboration with IIIT (International Institute of Information Technology) Hyderabad, is set to enhance bus driver safety through the implementation of facial recognition technology.
This initiative is a part of project iRASTE, which focuses on leveraging artificial intelligence/machine learning and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) for enhanced road safety and reduction in the number of accidents.
This measure aims to address concerns related to driver distraction and fatigue, which is the major cause of road accidents. This move has sparked both interest and discussions regarding privacy of the individual and the reliability of the technology in use.
Critics have raised their concerns about the drawbacks of facial recognition technology and highlighted the risk of inaccuracies and how it can affect the driver’s privacy.
The device is capable of observing and analysing many factors such as fatigue, drowsiness, seatbelt compliance, and eye movements, to evaluate the behaviour and performance of drivers, and is currently deployed in over 200 buses of Hyderabad.
However, the Telangana state road transport corporation (TSRTC) workers’ union has expressed concerns. They believe that addressing underlying issues such as long working hours and the absence of dedicated driver cabins should take priority over implementing facial recognition technology. According to the union, these factors contribute significantly to driver distractions and overall safety concerns.
Experts and activists suggest a holistic approach to this issue by integrating technology with measures such as effective time management, adequate rest periods, and provision of suitable facilities that will ensure driver welfare and well-being.