Sharjah Taxi, a subsidiary of Sharjah Asset Management Company, investment arm of the Government of Sharjah, has launched the revolutionary first-of-its-kind ‘Smart taxi’ in the Middle East, with the primary goal to employ artificial intelligence services to be utilised in vehicle operations and safety.
The smart taxi will have a new artificial intelligence system to monitor the behaviour of taxi drivers in a bid to reduce accidents.
Khalid Al Kindi, Executive Director of Sharjah Taxi, said that the smart vehicles were equipped with sensors, cameras, a mobile data unit, and other devices connected to an integrated system, with the aim to continue developing work and control mechanisms.
What is the purpose of this decision?
The intelligent transportation systems apply modern technologies in the areas of monitoring, information collection, control and means of communication, and utilise the full carrying capacity of road networks and other means of transportation.
The system helps regulate flow of traffic, facilitate access to key places, observe driver behaviour, mitigate erroneous practices, and reduce meter manipulations. As a result, the number of trips and total wasted kilometres are reduced, ultimately reducing the rate of road accidents and environmental pollution, whilst raising operational efficiency. The company also benefits through a reduction in operational costs.
There will be a monitoring of the drivers
Sharjah Taxi also highlighted the technology will detect drowsy drivers or those who use mobile phones behind the wheel.
The system contributes to monitoring driver behaviour through an intelligent system, with the ultimate aim of analysing the causes and circumstances leading to erroneous practices, such as the use of mobile phones while driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, drowsiness and fatigue, or preoccupation with anything other than the road.
“The technology will help us to understand the performance of the driver on the road in a continuous manner,” Mr Al Kindi said in a statement.
“Our aim to raise the level of services provided to the public with highest standards of security and safety.
“The system will analyse the reasons behind drivers’ wrong manners, like using the phone while driving, being sleepy or distracted while driving.”
The system also monitors the car’s condition, including the efficiency of electronic parts, to detect any misuse of the taxi by the driver.
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Monitoring the technical condition of a vehicle
Technical equipment inside the vehicle enables the collection of various data including vehicle temperature, electronic parts condition, and more. This allows remote monitoring of the vehicle, allowing real-time interventions and appropriate actions as soon as possible.
The cars will be connected to a control panel – the Control and Monitoring Panel, that will operate nearly 750 taxis in Sharjah, and helps follow driver work and operating efficiency indicators. The direct control panel was set up for Sharjah Taxi’s Operations Department to take immediate appropriate action upon the occurrence of any adverse event. It contains clear, readable and diverse visuals that work together on one screen and several specialized screens, to avoid misuse of the taxi by the driver.
Through the centre, the operations of nearly 750 taxis are managed in Sharjah City, Sharjah International Airport, and the Eastern Region.
The equipment also deliver a comprehensive interactive display of data, providing essential insights for quick decision-making, characterised by a coherent design and clear graphs, that help the designated employee perform their duties to the fullest.
Sharjah’s taxi fleet
The Sharjah taxi fleet contains 760 vehicles, including 96 vehicles for the eastern and central regions, 160 vehicles for Sharjah International Airport, 20 vehicles designated for women and family in Sharjah city and airport, 10 luxury limousines, and additional vehicles for people with disabilities.