Roadeo the robot may man traffic at city junctions

Roadeo  is built by a group of children aged between 9 and 14 years. It can assist children to cross roads at busy junctions by showing traffic signs. DH photo

Traffic police manning the junctions may soon have a robot colleague that may takeover the hard part of the job -- standing for long periods amid smoke and dust to regulate vehicle movement.

Roadeo is built by a group of children aged between 9 and 14 years. It can assist children to cross roads at busy junctions by showing traffic signs. As of now, Roadeo is operated through a smartphone. Once integrated into the traffic signalling system, Rodeo can operate automatically.

Brought together by Chennai-based learning platform SP Robotics Maker Lab, the children have written the entire program for Rodeo’s functioning in about two months. Each of them contributed to a specific function of the robot.

“For the display on the 16-inch monitor on Roadeo’s chest, I wrote a programme in Python. Several programmes were written in Embedded C for the operational needs,” said 10-year-old Saksham Tiku.

Aditya and Nirvana helped each other in operating Roadeo, who rolled forth and back, extending the right hand to show the ‘stop’ sign. “In the next version, we plan to link the robot to the central control room of the traffic police. It would be able to take 360-degree photos and send alerts to the control room on traffic violations,” Aditya said.

Anish M, brand manager of the platform, said they were still in discussion with the authorities on the second version, named Mark 1. “We will first demonstrate the prototype Roadeo’s capabilities to the police. They can test it in live conditions in the next stage. We have to incorporate their suggestions before harking on the next project,” he said.

According to Anish, Additional Commissioner of Police P Harishekharan has promised to support the initiative. “We believe robots can make a difference by reducing the stress on traffic policemen,” he said.

Traffic constables are the most vulnerable to air pollution as they stand in busy junctions at a time when vehicular emission and road dust account for 62% of the city’s pollution.

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