Anyone who has lived in or visited the UAE can attest to the fact that few cities in the world are as conscious of the importance of traffic rules and pedestrian safety as this land we call home. Ensuring motorists and passengers’ safety, reducing traffic violations, and creating awareness about the best driving practices has always been a key consideration for the Abu Dhabi government. To further this agenda, the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA) in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Police, has introduced a new radar monitoring system to track traffic violations in the capital city. Here’s all that you need to know about the Vehicular Attention and Safety Tracker (VAST).
ALL ABOUT THE VEHICULAR ATTENTION AND SAFETY TRACKER (VAST)
Mobile phones have certainly changed our lives and there’s no chance of going back to simpler times, anytime soon. But as much as these little devices are a blessing, using cellphones while driving can cause fatal accidents. Similarly, another practice that can cause a lot of harm is not fastening your seat belt while driving.
The Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA) in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Police has developed a new model for traffic safety and road accident reduction. The ‘VAST’ radar system will now automatically detect seat belt and mobile phone violations by Abu Dhabi residents from the 1st of January 2021.
The Vehicular Attention and Safety Tracker will help the authorities detect traffic violations by capturing high-resolution images via artificial intelligence cameras. Drivers who are using mobile phones and/or are not wearing a seatbelt will receive an SMS notification to fix their behaviour.
HOW WILL THE VEHICULAR ATTENTION AND SAFETY TRACKER WORK?
Abu Dhabi’s new Vehicular Attention and Safety Tracker is an advanced radar monitoring system developed in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Police. It aims to reduce traffic accidents, improve road safety and raise awareness regarding safe driving.
The Abu Dhabi Police has set up radar monitoring devices across the city. High-resolution pictures taken via Artificial Intelligence (AR) will be analysed by VAST to detect mobile device use and seat belt violations instantly. As stated earlier, drivers who have committed such violations will immediately get an SMS notification, asking them to rectify their mistake.
Major General Maktoum Ali Al Sharifi, director General at the Abu Dhabi Police explained that the whole process can be broken down into five phases:
- Camera and edge devices
- Image review module
- SMS notification
- Performance dashboard
- Model retraining
FROM WHEN WILL THE SYSTEM BE IMPLEMENTED?
The system will be effective from 1st January 2021. All social media platforms managed by the Abu Dhabi government have been posting content to create awareness regarding the new system. You can find a video that explains the system dubbed in four languages. Similarly, if you have any confusions, visit the Twitter handle of Abu Dhabi Police for further clarity.
WHAT WILL BE THE IMPACT OF THE NEW SYSTEM?
According to Mohamed Abdelhameed Al Askar, Director General of ADDA, the Vehicular Attention and Safety Tracker will help reduce accidents and injury rates.
“This cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Police comes as part of ADDA’s efforts to utilise accurate data analysis and benefit from the latest technologies to enable a digital government that is proactive, personalised, collaborative and secure. The traffic safety and road accident reduction model will significantly contribute to reducing accident and injury rates, thus enhancing traffic safety levels across the emirate.”
WILL I BE PENALISED IF DETECTED BY THE VAST SYSTEM?
As of now, there’s no statement on whether violations detected through the VAST system will lead to penalties. However, violators will get an SMS notification to correct their behaviour.
ADDA, Abu Dhabi Police and the Department of Transport all work in unison to penalise any violators. In general, there are strict penalties for those breaking the law in Abu Dhabi. For example, anyone found using a mobile phone while driving faces a fine of AED 800 and can potentially receive four black points on their driving licence. Traffic fines in Abu Dhabi are generally hefty. So, you surely would want to avoid taking a peek at your phone, with the cameras monitoring you.
Even if a friend or family member is driving, remind them to avoid seat belt violations and stop using their phones. Drivers cooperating with the authorities will ensure that the UAE capital remains a safe and secure city.
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