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(from left) Karan Bhatia, Sultan Al Hajji and Mohamed Hussain Karmastaji standing for a photo after signed an agreement that will see the collection and analysis of data at traffic intersections in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi will now use AI-generated data from Google to reduce traffic congestion, the emirate’s public transport regulator announced on Friday.

The Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) of the Department of Municipalities and Transport said it has signed an agreement with the tech giant that will see the collection and analysis of data at traffic intersections. AI-techniques will then provide recommendations to improve traffic light efficiency, thus also reducing congestion and carbon emissions. The agreement has been dubbed Project Green Light.

Proactive actions

Google’s AI platform will also analyse big data generated by Google Maps to forecast traffic and areas of congestion, as part of a second agreement. The ITC will then use this data to develop proactive plans to minimise congestion. The ITC will also receive real-time accurate data on the status of accidents and areas of traffic congestion from Google Maps.

The agreements were signed by Mohammad Hussain Karmastaji, executive director of the ITC’s intelligent transport systems sector, and Philipp Schindler, senior vice president and chief business officer at Google. The two projects aim to enhance the quality of life in Abu Dhabi through the use of artificial intelligence, while also reducing pollution and enhancing smart mobility solutions.

Improving air quality

“We are fully committed to driving the transition towards sustainable and efficient transportation systems. For example, our collaboration with Google will produce results that benefit road-users in real time. Project Green Light is a pilot project to develop an AI tool to harvest critical data on traffic conditions at intersections which will automatically optimise the efficiency of traffic light functions, helping to reduce vehicle congestion hotspots, and thus improve air quality across the emirate by lowering carbon emissions,” Karmastaji said.

“Through continued partnerships like this with government bodies, private sector partners, and community stakeholders, we are shaping a future where congestion is minimised, air quality is improved, and our cities thrive in harmony with the environment. With the launch of new AI tools, we are taking a significant step towards enhancing the daily commute experience for residents. We are excited about the positive impact this will have on our city, and we look forward to collaborating with stakeholders to create a sustainable, intelligent transportation system,” he added.

The ITC-Google agreements were signed during an event at the Mohammad Bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI).

Bus updates

This is not the first ITC partnership with Google. Since 2019, the transport regulator has provided live data of public buses to Google Maps, thus allowing commuters to easily access bus timings and scheduled.

Google has also partnered with the MBZUAI to offer research awards to projects that help improve the Arab role in AI.

“Building AI responsibly must be a collective effort involving researchers, social scientists, industry experts, governments, and the public. There is so much we can accomplish and so much we must get right together. We’re pleased to be collaborating with partners in the UAE on research that will also enhance Arabic representation in AI as we pursue sustainable development,” said Karan Bhatia, vice president for government relations and public policy at Google.