Funding has been awarded to further develop an ‘AI guardian angel’ that makes roadworks safer for workers and road users
RUSH, a pioneering New Zealand technology company, together with Downer’s Transport & Infrastructure, has been awarded funding in the second round of the Waka Kotahi Hoe ki angitū – Innovation Fund to further develop the technology.
Using the R/VISION platform developed by RUSH and piloted in collaboration with Downer in 2021, the project uses computer vision machine learning – a specialised field of artificial intelligence that trains computers to interpret and understand visual information from the world around them.
Mobile AI Camera Units are placed around traffic management sites to monitor critical risks and alert workers to make real-time adjustments via alerts, predictive analytics and auto-risk assessments.
According to RUSH Founder & CTO Danu Abeysuriya, the project aims to keep road workers and road users safe at roadworks sites. The technology supplements human-decision-making by providing workers with real-time data and predictive analytics crucial to making smart decisions that keep people safe.
“Our aim is to make this technology accessible for the entire industry, not just at roadworks sites across the country but for a range of contractors, including small businesses and large infrastructure projects,” Abeysuriya says.
Waka Kotahi Future Transport Manager, Lee McKenzie, says the project shows great potential.
“We believe every road worker and road user should go home safely, and we’re proud to be supporting this, and other projects, that uphold this vision through Hoe ki angitū.
By partnering with innovators like Rush in collaboration with Downer, we can accelerate potentially transformational solutions to some of our biggest transport challenges.”
The integration of AI into operational safety is an exciting development for the construction industry which has long awaited fresh innovation, says Murray Robertson Chief Operating Officer – Transport & Infrastructure, Downer Group.
“We understand the inherent dangers associated with working in the road corridor. R/VISION has the potential to act as a crucial safety net, providing our teams with the right information to make informed decisions on-site. It doesn’t replace the importance of human judgment, but rather complements it as another valuable tool in our toolbox,” says Robertson.