Artificial intelligence can help reduce road deaths by half by 2030, says UN
A new AI for Road Safety initiative, that brings together Special Envoys for Road Safety and Technology and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), stressed the need for the development and application of artificial intelligence (AI) by countries to make roads safer for everyone. The initiative also highlighted the implementation of AI should be carried out at a faster pace especially in low and middle-income countries as numerous lives are lost on the roads each year, stated a report by ANI.
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This approach towards road safety will require equitable access to data and the ethical application of algorithms which currently many countries lack hence leaving them unable to identify road safety solutions. Usage of AI will not only help in the collection and analysis of accident-related data but will also improve road infrastructure. This will further help in increasing the efficiency of post-crash response, and inspiring innovation in the regulatory frameworks.
After the announcement of the initiative, the ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao stated that the disproportionate number of road deaths in developing countries "is yet another example of why the benefits of new technologies must reach everyone, everywhere". Road Safety Envoy Jean Todt added that there is an untapped opportunity to harness AI that will help in closing the digital and road safety divide around the globe. However, he did state that much work remains to meet the target to halve the number of road deaths and injuries by 2030.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set in 2015 also includes a call for action to halve the annual rate of road deaths worldwide and ensure access to safe, affordable and sustainable transport for everyone by 2030. The initiative aims to strengthen global AI efforts across the public and private sectors to improve safety for all road commuters irrespective of their mode of transportation.
Based on World Health Organisation (WHO), around 1.3 million people die annually because of road accidents and approximately between 20 to 50 million more suffer non-fatal injuries that lead to a disability.