AI is having a moment right now, especially when it comes to generating content. But did you know that it’s already used in many other applications including road safety? The Road Transport Department (JPJ) has started installing AI-powered CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras at selected traffic lights to monitor road users who violate traffic rules.
So what does that mean for you? Well, you might need to think twice before you pick up your handphone while waiting for the traffic light to turn green.
AI CCTV Traffic Cameras Installed in Miri
One of the few places in Malaysia with AI traffic light cameras is Miri. On 4 July 2023, Sarawak Transport Minister Datuk Seri Lee Kim Shin said the state has started upgrading its traffic CCTVs to an AI violations detection camera system. This system aims to capture evidence of traffic offenses and provide data to the authorities to help them plan policies and enforce the law.
The AI traffic camera proof-of-concept project was installed at the Merbau-Miri-Pujut traffic light intersection as it’s an accident-prone location. Only a week after it was installed, the camera caught a repeat offender speeding on eight occasions. The system is currently on a six-month trial after which the results will be presented to the ministry to decide the next course of action.
Do We Need AI Traffic Cameras?
With more cameras, you might be sighing at the increased surveillance and inconvenience at traffic lights, but this system may improve safety and even traffic flow on the road.
Recording Traffic Offences on the Road
With AI, this proof-of-concept system can record and analyze traffic data including traffic flow and volume, vehicle brand, model, color, type, plate number, and traveling speeds.
It can even record footage of drivers’ activities at red lights and identify if you’re playing with your phone. This data would then help JPJ and the police conduct effective enforcement to deter reckless drivers and prevent mishaps, particularly at accident hotspots. If you frequently drive without a seatbelt or use your phone while at the traffic light, you should be more cautious when AI cameras are finally used on our roads.
How AI Traffic Cameras Can Smooth Traffic
Another instance where AI traffic cameras can help motorists is by improving the efficiency of traffic lights to smooth traffic flow. Since November 2021, Ipoh City Council (MBI) has incorporated AI in its traffic lights at four locations around the city.
The system, called Stars, uses high-definition AI cameras and video analytics to analyze traffic at traffic light intersections and optimize the changing of the lights. According to Perak Youth, Sports and Multimedia Committee chairman Khairul Shahril Mohamad, the system has helped reduce carbon emissions by 7,500 kg per month. That’s thanks to reducing the time vehicles sit idling at traffic lights.
With the new traffic light cameras, it’s also expected that traffic flow will be improved by up to 51 percent. That improvement, especially during peak hours, can save road users a lot of time and fuel.
Using AI CCTVs on the road and at traffic lights may seem like an inconvenience at first but it certainly has the potential to make our roads safer and traffic smoother. And who knows, we might not need to worry about road bullies and scammers while driving anymore.
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