Watch: A 14-feet robocop directs traffic in Indore, makes commuters obey rules
It decidedly looked futuristic – a robot managing traffic at a busy intersection in Indore, the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, which has one of the highest vehicle densities in the country.
People of the city were taken by surprise when they saw the 14-feet robot mounted on a five-feet pedestal towering over and directing the traffic on MR 9 and Ring Road at Barfani Dham on Sunday evening. Many gawked at it but followed the robot’s directions.
The robot can rotate on its axis, move its arms and also has a public address system installed within. It is also equipped with a camera and once connected through wi-fi to the police control room, it will be able to take photos of traffic violators and generate e-challan.
Indore deputy inspector general of police (DIG) Hari Narayan Chari said this was the first time in Madhya Pradesh that a robot had replaced humans in managing the traffic.
“It was a successful experiment, and the robot will stay there and manage traffic every day. We also have plans to put up such robots in other squares in Indore,” Chari said.
Deputy superintendent of police (traffic) Pradeep Chouhan said the robot has a major psychological effect on people and they are willing to obey it, compared to an ordinary signal.
“It replaces at least two traffic constables, which is a big relief as we are always short staffed,” Chouhan said.
The project was undertaken confidentially by the city police and the Venkteshwar Institute of Technology, Indore.
College head Vishnu Pasari told the Hindustan Times they conceived the project when additional director general Vipin Maheshwari was posted as the Indore zone inspector general of police.
“He saw our robotics department and during discussions, we hit upon this idea. Initially, we had approached several companies and universities to help us, but they were quoting too high a price. So we built everything from scratch,” Pasari, an engineer by profession, said.
Rahul Tiwari, one of the faculty involved in the project, said due to the secrecy different students were given different assignments without telling them about the entire project.
“But since this was the first time we were attempting such a thing, there were a lot of hits and misses, but we managed to overcome them,” Tiwari said.
The robotics faculty and final year students of the college were mainly involved in the project that took two years in the making and cost around Rs 20 lakh. However, Pasari is confident that the cost would come down to Rs 12 lakh when they make the next robot.