Speaking at the International Conference on Machine Vision and Augmented Intelligence early this year, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari highlighted how India accounts for 5 lakh road accidents every year, which is the highest in the world.

As many as 1.5 lakh deaths are said to occur due to these accidents with 3 lakh people suffering serious injuries. Then there is the economic cost to contend with. And Gadkari’s prescription to make our roads safer: Remove human interference and the possibility of errors by leveraging artificial intelligence.

Intel, the global technology behemoth, could not agree more. The company has been betting big on its ‘Onboard Fleet Services’, an AI-powered fleet safety solution for commercial vehicles exclusively designed for Indian conditions. In an e-mail interaction with BusinessLine, Kishore Ramisetty, Vice President & General Manager, Vertical Solutions and Services Group—Intel Corporation, shared the company's vision not only for safer roads but a healthier bottom line for fleet operators. Excerpts:


What is the business case for Intel Onboard Fleet Services?

As India continues its transformation, the adoption of technology-led innovation is critical to addressing the country’s societal challenges in areas like mobility. India sees 17 deaths due to road accidents every hour and the majority of those impacted are young people.

The two primary causes of these accidents are either human error where drivers are breaking the rules and driving irresponsibly or poor infrastructure and road conditions. Six out of 10 accidents involving commercial fleets can be prevented with timely driver interventions. Moreover, the commercial fleet industry suffers efficiency losses of up to ₹48,000 crore per year due to accidents and fleet breakdowns.

Now, more than ever, it is imperative for technology and transportation providers, vehicle makers, academia, and government to form alliances and work in a cohesive manner to find the root cause and address the problem of road safety.

A safety-first mindset can significantly advance the government’s goal of reducing the number of road accidents and fatalities by 50 per cent by 2024, and achieving zero fatalities by 2030, while also providing commercial fleet operators a business edge via efficiencies gained.

Moreover, tapping the capabilities of advanced technologies such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and the Internet of Things (IoT) can drive significant operational efficiencies, add local innovations to the Indian transportation market, and save lives on roads.


Can you throw some light on the technology that drives your offering?

Intel Onboard Fleet Services is an AI-powered fleet safety solution for commercial vehicles. Exclusively designed for Indian conditions, this comprehensive solution is powered by a portfolio of in-cabin devices which offers the best-in-class advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) from Mobileye, Collision Avoidance Systems (CAS), Driver Monitoring Systems, fleet telematics, fleet health, and fuel efficiency features.

The solution also comes with a state-of-the-art cloud portal that includes actionable insights, analytics, and reports for fleet managers that can help improve overall efficiency, enable preventive maintenance, and reduce operating costs.

The solution is already deployed by 16 customers like Sure Group Logistics, Sankyu India Logistics, and Allanasons across sectors such as HAZMAT, Cold Chain, Third-Party Logistics (3PL), and employee transport, and it indicates that this technology can reduce the probability of accidents by 40-60 per cent and that overall efficiency losses can be reduced by up to 50 per cent.

Intel’s solutions also include advanced telematics, covering vehicle health and fuel analytics along with a unique driver scoring and rating module. This can significantly help fleets reduce the risk of accidents and downtime while encouraging good driving practices through targeted incentivisation and reward programmes. At the heart of the solution is driver coaching, which activates 15 different inputs to provide individualised coaching recommendations for commercial fleets, who lose up to 25 workdays per accident involved.

Intel has set up a dedicated research and development unit in Bengaluru that will own this product line and continue to add local innovations for the Indian fleet market. While all real-time alert calculations happen locally on the devices, post-analysis takes place in the cloud, which also analyses the driver's behaviour using data collected over a long period of time.


And where does the Indian market stand in terms of infrastructure, tech adoption and unique challenges?

Like most sectors, the Indian logistics sector was affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the Indian logistics sector is growing at an average of 10.5 per cent every year and is valued at around $215 billion, the infrastructure is still behind in terms of implementing technological advancements.

Even though the sector is constantly evolving with companies investing in technology to optimise efficiency and operations, it's still a long way to go. We strongly believe in the power of technology and expect the technological advancements being made in the logistics sector can cause further disruptions, which would push the efficiency of the sector.

Cloud computing is also one of the future trends that can significantly transform the Indian logistics industry. With cloud computation, logistics providers can collaborate with others to share fleets. Service providers will be able to share information using the cloud platforms and coordinate with each other to deliver and pick up goods.

This reduces the number of times vehicles remain idle which makes the entire ecosystem efficient. Futuristic technologies such as big data analytics and machine learning can also help automate the supply chain, reduce costs and overall improve operational efficiency.


How unique is your offering considering the peculiarities of the Indian market?

We have spent three years collecting over three million kilometers of data on Indian roads to perfect the algorithms and customise them according to Indian conditions. The results have been astounding: we have seen an almost 70 per cent improvement in safe driving practices. There is a 40 to 60 per cent reduction in accidents. The overall efficiency loss is down by up to 50 per cent, and there is a 75 per cent reduction in damage (costs) to the vehicle.


How do you see the market evolving?

As industry disruptors ourselves, we firmly believe that technologies such as artificial intelligence will play a transformational role in enabling smarter and safer vehicles, roads, and drivers. Intel is committed to enabling road safety and reducing fatalities in India through the use of technology solutions. Impactful road safety initiatives between the government, industry, and academia are necessary to collaborate, innovate and advance road safety in India.