Artificial Intelligence could be new weapon to counter road

New study on the psychology of drivers aims to create a tool that will help traffic officers identify dangerous motorists.

January 21, 2010 22:17
2 minute read.
car accident 190.114

car accident 190.114. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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Researchers at the Israel Police Traffic Division together with a group of psychology students from Rupin College are conducting a study on the psychology of drivers in an effort to create a tool that will help traffic officers identify dangerous motorists.  

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, Ch.-Supt. Eran Finesmesser, head of the Traffic Division's research section, explained the workings of the proposed system.

"Right now we are in the midst of conducting research to help build a system that will analyze every driver's driving record and help the officers in the field decide how to behave with the specific driver standing in front of them," said Finesmesser.

"The idea is to take the relevant driving history and apply it to an artificial intelligence program that will present the officer with an evaluation of the driver's prior behavior and the risk he or she presents on the road."

The student's job is to conduct a review of all the studies published on dangerous driving behaviors and out of that, draw out the indicators that make up a profile of a dangerous driver.

"These include character traits like impulsiveness, inability to defer gratification, risk-taking tendencies and tendency to express rage," said Finesmesser.

"We then take existing models for gauging violent tendencies, like the ones that the police use to identify likely cases of spousal abuse, combine them with our national traffic violations database and our national accident report database and synthesize them to give an evaluative reading of each and every driver and their likelihood to pose a risk," said Finesmesser.

Finesmesser explained that when someone is caught committing a serious traffic violation, they go to a hearing before a traffic officer, either in the field or at a police station. That officer has access to the driver's driving record, which shows every traffic offense the driver has committed since receiving their license.

It is then up to the officer to decide how to proceed; they can decide to take away the license, to confiscate the vehicle, to fine the driver, to arrest him or to let him off with a warning.

"This system will give the hearing officer a valuable tool for determining the likelihood that a given driver will offend again. It will show only the relevant offenses and provide an intelligent evaluation of the risk he or she presents.

"The reading will be presented graphically on the officer's computer as a 'danger gauge,' with the meter pointing to the red if there is a serious concern of risk," said Finesmesser. "This minimizes the room for error and will help make sure that a first-time offender isn't punished too severely or that a repeated dangerous offender will be let off the hook."

Finesmesser said that they hope to have a working pilot project ready to go by the end of 2010. When complete, the system will be the first of its kind used by traffic police anywhere.

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