The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will be upgrading its technology for its fleet with the aim of reducing accidents. It plans to introduce collision avoidance mechanisms and anti-drowsiness systems that will provide real-time alerts to drivers, conductors and the control room.

The technology, said officials, will go a long way in curbing accidents. Anti-drowsiness systems, for instance, are designed to detect a driver’s alertness and can even sound an alarm if the driver dozes off at the wheel. Cameras constantly monitor the driver’s face and retina to detect how alert he or she is.

A KSRTC official said trial runs using collision avoidance mechanisms were held and deemed ‘satisfactory’. “Such systems are available in high-end expensive cars and it works perfectly well. This will save hundreds of lives and reduce risk and increase our efficiency,” the official said.

The system comprises cameras and multiple features including warning systems for pedestrian collision, information on vehicles approaching from opposite sides, and distance between vehicles around the bus among others.

According to sources in the KSRTC, the tender process for implementation of the technology is in the offing and if everything goes as planned, it will be in place within three to four months. “According to our tentative list, around 1,000 buses that will ply at night especially on highways, inter-state buses and those plying ghat sections will get the technology on priority basis,” the KSRTC official added.

According to Laxman Savadi, Deputy Chief Minister and Transport Minister, KSRTC spends around ₹100 crore every year on accident compensation and related issues. “It is not only a question of money, more importantly lives are at stake. Our department is in touch with agencies that provide such services and the project will be rolled out soon,” he said.

The Minister added that once the system is in place, it will provide better safety measures not just for KSRTC employers but also to drivers, passengers and other motorists.

Another corporation official said: “Such mechanisms will help the KSRTC identify vulnerable spots along the bus route especially in the ghat sections. This will further help us in better management of road markers, traffic signs, lights among other things.”

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