Road Network Management with AI

03 जून 2021

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Dear Reader,  

The lack of road safety in India is increasingly becoming a matter of major concern. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, India recorded around 4.3 lakh road accidents in 2019, which took the lives of 1.5 lakh people. Poor road infrastructure, encroachment, and increasing number of vehicles have contributed to the high number of road hazards in the country. The solution seems clear: real-time road monitoring and information collation about road infrastructure. 

New Delhi-based deep tech startup Nayan India Science and Technologies has developed a road safety and traffic monitoring solution that uses a camera, computer vision and artificial intelligence. The application constantly monitors roads, infrastructure, and traffic violation. The AI Powered algorithms analyse the video feeds and alert in case of violations, defects or dangers on the road.  The B2B SaaS startup works with road transport authorities, insurance companies, private aggregators, public transportation fleets etc. to provide real world, last-mile analytics to better revenue channels. 

RoadMetrics is an AI-based solution that uses image and sensor data obtained from a simple smartphone to classify road defects, signs, traffic signals, street lights, etc. This road and street-level data helps enterprise mapping firms and smart city bodies with analytics on road networks and a better mapping experience. The data is sold through the API model as well as on a per km basis, depending on the geography for Smart Cities. 

Swedish start-up, Mapillary, acquired by Facebook, is the street-level imagery platform that scales and automates mapping using collaboration, cameras and computer vision. Mapillary’s tools enable anyone to collect, share, and use street-level images which are combined for improving the city maps. 

US based RoadBotics automated inspections and generated actionable data about road networks, including identification of individual distresses like potholes and alligator cracks. Their detailed maps, unbiased ratings, and practical tools save time and taxpayer dollars for hundreds of communities across the country and around the world. 

As per IBEF ORG, India has the second-largest road network in the world, spanning a total of 5.89 million kilometres (kms). This road network transports 64.5% of all goods in the country and 90% of India’s total passenger traffic uses road network to commute. Road transportation has gradually increased over the years with improvement in connectivity between cities, towns and villages in the country. In India, sale of automobiles and movement of freight by roads is growing at a rapid rate. The startups are focused in solving road network issues by using India’s main asset - its huge population. 

Credits : Akhil Handa Manisha Gawle

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Partnering with Insurtechs

Dear Reader,  
Insurers across the world are adjusting to the new normal of the on-going pandemic, and as a result, there is massive acceleration in digital transformation efforts. For this purpose, Insurers and non-insurance companies alike are bringing on insurtech companies as strategic partners. 
Gartner defines insurtechs as technology companies that are in their early stages of operation; that drive specific innovation across the insurance value chain by leveraging new technologies, user interfaces, business processes or business models; that leverage different forms of funding, including venture capital. 
As per a CB Insights report, Funding to insurtech companies hit yearly and quarterly highs in 2020 and Q1‘21, respectively, signaling the confidence investors have in the future of the insurance tech market. In 2020, business relationships involving insurtech companies also hit a record high, coming in at over 650 partnerships for the year. 
Companies such as Axa, Munich Re, and American Family are among the insurers with the most formal business relationships with insurtech companies. Recently, China-headquartered Leapstack, an AI-enabled InsurTech company specializing in healthcare, has announced a strategic plan to ink strategic partnerships with multiple Korean insurance companies as the company advances into the South Korean market. 
Some Consumer-facing insurtech companies are partnering with other tech providers to improve their product offerings.For instance, auto insurtech Root provides additional benefits to policyholders via partnerships with road assistance app Agero and gas station location app GasBuddy. Home insurtech Hippo recently partnered with ADT and Handdii to improve the security and home repair services it offers policyholders. As these insurtech companies look to aggressively grow their customer bases, expect them to continue partnering with companies that offer complementary digital services. 
The partnership between Galileo Platforms, a specialist blockchain technology platform for the insurance industry, and Amodo, a provider of insurance telematics technology and advisory services, including behaviour data analysis, will enable clients to benefit from their diverse experience and expertise in their respective areas of the insurance industry. 
Primary core insurance software vendors like Duck Creek, Guidewire, and Unqork are also among the most active in partnering with insurtechs. These companies are incorporating complementary insurtech products to create a stickier experience for customers by tying these products to their core suites. Horizontal software providers like Microsoft and Salesforce and more mature insurtech platforms like Bold Penguin and Snapsheet have also actively formed partnerships to build out their insurance ecosystem capabilities. 
We believe, as insurtech companies mature and build increasingly innovative solutions, expect to see insurers double down on successful partnerships and explore new ones. 
Credits : Akhil Handa Aparna Anand

Smart Farming

Dear Reader,  
Smart farming can be referred to as the 4.0 green revolution in the field of agriculture combining agriculture methodologies with technology — Sensors & Actuators, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics and Drones to achieve desired efficiencies of production which are sustainable.
According to a survey, 80% of farmers in US and 24% farmers in UK have already started using Smart Farming Tool (SFT). These numbers are cognizant of the fact that SFTs are adding value to the farming ecosystem. As far as the scale of operations is considered, Smart farming tools and techniques can be applied to large scale and  on the other hand distributed conventional farming can be applied to focused small farming set of organic farms.
Through remote sensing,  smart farming system reduces waste, improves productivity and enables optimum resource management. For the benefit of micro farming, multiple crops are grown simultaneously on remote lands which require different care, manure, soil and water. By linking local sensors to smart irrigation and control, things like sensing pH balance of the soil, gauging local temperature is now possible through remote monitoring and sensing rather than walking the field all the time. This leads to increase in the yield as farmers can save on time and focus on the real issues of farming — pest control, irrigation and amending  soil conditions  all  using  sensing  and  automation.
Companies like Robotics Plus, a startup with USD 10 million  funding from Yamaha is planning to deploy its fruit plucking robots into production, while Ecorobotix with their Weed Zapping Robots have gained considerable momentum owing to the growth in Smart farming techniques.
Precision farming system has a lot of dependency on the software management systems. Control systems manage sensory input, delivering remote data for supply and decision support, as well as automation of machines . Basically, it is a standardized business approach balancing the demand and supply side with respect to resource management.
During production, it is mostly resource management from a growth and yield perspective. For instance, precision seeding uses automated tractors to reduce seed loss and seeding with proper space management between different plants. Another example is of precision water delivery.
On the demand side, it is about demand forecasting and delivering goods just in time to reduce waste.
India has always been an agrarian state, and traditional farming methods are manual and too labour intensive. Smart Farming can also provide great benefits in terms of environmental issues, for example, through more efficient use of water and optimisation of  treatments and inputs
Credits : Akhil Handa Clint James

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