The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has signed a pact with IIT-Delhi to set up a centre of excellence for the use of artificial intelligence in decision making, the government said recently. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in the presence of NHAI Chairman Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, IIT-Delhi Director V Ram Gopal Rao and other senior officials.
"NHAI today (on Thursday) signed an MoU with the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, to set up a centre of excellence for use of artificial intelligence (AI) in data-driven decision making and the advance data management system for highways," the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said in a statement.
Under the partnership, IIT-Delhi will work with the NHAI to develop advance analytics based on AI, prepare simulation models, enhance data storage and retrieval capacities to further strengthen the NHAI's capabilities in data-driven decision making.
The collaboration will be undertaken on the identified thrust areas, such as project management and data management, highway network traffic demand and incident management, highway safety, highway work zone management, and highway pavement management system, the statement said.
IIT-Delhi will also give inputs for the NHAI's data management policy.
As part of the arrangement, IIT-Delhi will provide space and infrastructural support to house the centre of excellence (CoE), the statement said.
It added that IIT-Delhi will also provide scientific and technical expertise to extend research facilities.
Efforts will also be made to attract students and research scholars for setting up start-ups on various transportation and highways-related research solutions, it added.
The NHAI, on the other hand, will provide critical data support and necessary access to its information resources, including its data software Data Lake. The authority will also extend required financial support to carry out research and various activities at the proposed CoE.
"The operations at the CoE for the advance data management system for highways shall be governed and managed by a two-tier management structure," the statement said.
It added that an advisory board will be the highest-level committee that will monitor the activities of the collaborative platform, including initiation, continuation of work and approval of joint collaborative projects, and will also suggest mechanisms to achieve the desired objectives.
It will also monitor the activities being undertaken and review the overall progress, the statement said.
At second tier, it said, a coordination committee will be constituted for overall coordination and timely progress.
The committee will be chaired by the dean (research and development) of-IIT Delhi, co-chaired by a senior official from the NHAI, and will comprise experts from academic and research institutes. A professor will also be appointed as a coordinator of the centre by the IIT-Delhi.
"This arrangement is set to remain in effect for over a period of five years and is expected to bring out highly effective digitised systems on which the NHAI will thrive upon," the statement said.
This partnership will fuel advancement in various fields related to the new-age data-driven traffic and construction management systems for highways, which will not only benefit the NHAI but also the entire nation at large, it added.
The advance AI-based data analytics of highways and traffic pattern at CoE will facilitate in decision making at the national level.
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