Yulu’s wrong-way detection feature – Is this the solution to traffic violations?

Yulu’s new tech of notifying people riding on the wrong side is interesting. However, can this tech be used to make Indian roads safer?

yulu wrong side detection
Image for reference

When speaking about urban mobility, especially in a city like Bengaluru, one of the most popular names that come to mind is Yulu. However, with growing popularity comes a few drawbacks and one of them is when someone decides to go against the law and ride on the wrong side of the road. It may look like a petty issue, but given the traffic and narrow roads in Bangalore, this is an accident waiting to happen.

To tackle this, Yulu has come up with a solution called a Wrong-Way Detection feature, for which Yulu’s waiting for patent approval. This feature notifies riders every time they ride on the wrong side of the road. Yulu was able to build this feature using H3 geospatial index, a project developed and maintained by Uber, that uses hexagonal grids for locational analysis.

When Yulu detects someone using the wrong side of the road, riders are notified via the app on two screens, the ride summary page and the ride history page. When the user checks the notification, Yulu will show the total number of wrong-way journeys to the user.

yulu wrong side notification
Yulu notifies the rider on the summary page

The wrong side journey will be shown in three scenarios. One will be if the wrong side is detected and the journey ends within a Yulu zone. This notification will show the user at what point the wrong side journey started and when it ended. The second scenario is when the ride ends outside a Yulu zone, and in this case, the notification will show the start and end points of the wrong side journey, along with the ‘ride ended outside Yulu zone’ message.

The third scenario is when the app detects multiple wrong-side riding. In this case, the app will show the start point of the first wrong-side ride and the endpoint of the last wrong-side journey.

However, this raises the question of safety and education. At times, riding on the wrong side can become a habitual offence, especially when there are no U-Turns on certain roads. In such a situation, Yulu will send nudges to inform and deter riders from repeating it. “If the behaviour persists, there is a penalisation framework in place along with educational interventions. If the behaviour continues, we can eventually bar the customer from using our services,” says Yulu.

One way is to send notifications to the police, however, rules governing low-speed electric scooters are not concrete yet. If the rules do get stringent in the future, they may still not be effective enough as education is more important in this aspect compared to enforcement.

Yulu says, “Traffic violations on many occasions arise out of lack of awareness of traffic rules as well safety risks that violations come with. So we believe education is the key. To help address this Yulu started a road safety and traffic awareness program for delivery executives, who are in the high-risk category. We could also plan on ‘driving lessons’ blogs or podcasts via our app.”

On the whole, Yulu says that the wrong-side detection feature is scalable, meaning it can be implemented beyond low-speed electric vehicles. If done, it can probably be used to send notifications to the traffic police department for violations, be it cars, SUVs, motorcycles, and other forms of transport.

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First published on: 06-04-2023 at 21:31 IST