IIT Hyderabad launches ‘M2Smart’ Testbed to research low-carbon models for Indian transportation


Hyderabad: Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad launched an ‘M2Smart Project’ Testbed to develop low-carbon models for Indian transportation on Tuesday evening (28th May 2019) in the presence of IIT Hyderabad and Japanese Researchers along with the officials from Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, Traffic Police and Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).

The Testbed will generate a practical ‘handbook’ on low carbon urban transportation for developing countries based on big data of Indian transportation and create traffic flow models from the data analysis.

The field testbed system has been deployed at IIT-H campus and along a 30 km stretch of NH-65. There are many key components of traffic management system such as real-time traffic flow monitoring using cameras and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi sensors, speed detection safety system, conflict warning system using traffic signal lights and remote environment gas sensing in IIT-H campus as well as NH 65. Electric rickshaws also run inside the campus and are used to understand the driving cycle of e-vehicles and to implement the V2X technology.

The traffic monitoring is done not only at Hyderabad city but also in Ahmedabad city where IIT Hyderabad researchers have established traffic monitoring cameras at one of the major Junction in the city. They are able to monitor and compare the differences between Hyderabad and Ahmedabad traffic conditions in real-time.

Speaking about the importance of this Research, Prof. U.B. Desai, Director, IIT Hyderabad, said, “Reducing carbon footprint is the need of the hour. India has diverse modes of transportation and we need to understand this diverse mobility much better. The testbed under the M2Smart project is aimed at this fundamental objective. With the data that we will acquire using the testbed, we will be able to have a better understanding of multi-modal transportation in India and we will be able to provide solutions to reduce the carbon footprint.”

Key outcomes of this research include developing state-of-art heterogeneous vehicle-sensing technologies for all types of vehicles including rickshaws and motorcycles plying on Indian roads using various kinds of sensors (CCTVs, LIDAR, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/Cellular) and developing multimodal apps on smartphones, which will provide several choice sets including not only main transportation mode but also feeder transportation systems such as auto-rickshaw, taxi and general bus with their service level of travel time, fare and eco-friendly indicator, among others. The Testbed will also work on the development of intersection decision support system using sensors, communication and computer technologies to help drivers recognize risky conditions so as to avoid collisions.

Elaborating on the research that will be done at this Testbed, Dr. Bheemarjuna Reddy Tamma, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Hyderabad, said, “As a part of the project, we are developing CO2 emission estimation methodologies for the estimation of energy and CO2 emission reduction by route choice and mode choice provided using IoT based traffic management system i.e., VMS (Variable Message Sign) displays and Multimodal App (MMA) for Smartphones.”

The Testbed will also be developing micro traffic simulation models based on the collected and aggregated traffic data from several sensing devices using big data analysis and establish a strong partnership between Indian and Japanese researchers through the program.

‘M2Smart’ (Smart Cities for Emerging Countries based on Sensing, Network and Big Data Analysis of Multimodal Regional Transport System) is a joint research project under SATREPS (Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development Program) programme between India and Japan. As many as 14 Professors and 20 Research Scholars from IIT Hyderabad will be working alongside 21 Professors and Researchers from Nihon University, Japan, and 13 researchers from Nagoya Electric Works, Japan.

Further, Dr. Digvijay S. Pawar, Group Head (Traffic management systems) and Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Hyderabad, added, “The proposed ITS system seeks to retrieve and combine the information available from vehicles and roadside in a synergistic framework so that a transferable and flexible yet sensible system can be deployed in the emerging low carbon smart cities.”

SATREPS is a Japanese government program that promotes international joint research activities. The program is structured as a collaborative effort between the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The organizations involved in this joint research are IIT Hyderabad, Nihon University, Japan, and Nagoya Electric, Japan. These organizations have the best research groups for computer science technology, transportation analysis, electrical engineering, and system implementation.

The testbed of M2Smart project being deployed at IIT Hyderabad campus is being used for the development of fundamental technologies for collecting, processing, modelling and providing traffic information in the IITH campus using various sensing technologies, wireless communication technologies and big data processing techniques, developed by various approaches in the testbed, generated by integrating these technologies. It also considers the system to promote multimodal by providing traffic information to users and at the same time to improve traffic management, and confirm policies to implement this system for achieving Low Carbon Urban Transportation through field experiments in Ahmedabad city. Technologies developed and examined in this research and policies to be verified can be used not only in India but also in cities in other developing countries through the ‘handbook’. M2Smart is one of SDGs activities for meeting sustainable developing goals