Every monsoon, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation – the richest civic body in the country — faces embarrassment and citizens face hassles due to pathetic condition of roads and potholes. So far, the Mumbai civic body has used a range of measures – blacklisting contractors responsible for the construction to filling potholes with cold and hot mix – but to no avail.
However, according to a source, this year, the BMC has decided to take the help of advanced technologies to monitor its roads — Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning (AI-ML).
WHAT IS LIDAR?
LiDAR is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a laser to measure the distance of targeted surface to the Earth used for mapping across the world. The surface reflects the light back to the device and the sensor records the reflected light to measure the distance travelled and create accurate 3D images. The BMC plans to use this system to make digital records of its roads, which are approximately 2,050 km long.
According to the information available, the digital map or database will also create a record of all assets on the road. These assets include road utilities, furniture, trees, bridges, streetlights, water spots, etc. Once the digital database is ready, it will be monitored via a control room.
The AI-ML can help visualise the condition of a road on a GIS map. According to a source in the roads department of the BMC, the condition of the road will be monitored before and after the monsoon every year with help of this technology.
“Using this technology will help the BMC mark spots with road defects as the technology will visualise and make a map of it, which will be shared with the control room. From there, it will be passed on to the BMC officers and road contractor to take immediate action,” he added.
The BMC is confident that this technology will give accurate data of Mumbai’s road network, including various elements on it. Based on the information shared via this technology, the estimated budget for the repairs can be derived.
Congress leader and former corporator Ravi Raja told News18, “I am a corporator in the BMC for the past 30 years. In these years, the BMC has brought in many new technologies to maintain roads, but not one has worked. They failed to give Mumbaiites pothole-free roads. The BMC only has an administrator and no one can question him at this moment, so there is no control over the purchase.”
“Earlier, whenever the BMC pushed any new technology, group leaders of all parties used to get a demonstration from the vendor. When the civic body had brought the cold mix technology to fill potholes, we had raised doubts during the demonstration. However, later, our suspicions came true and the purchase turned out to be a failure. Today, the BMC is a one-man show,” Raja said.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Sandeep Deshpande said, “So far, the BMC has spent huge amount on new technologies, but all of them have failed. If this technology works and produces the desired results, we will felicitate the BMC Commissioner, who is now the administrator. I hope they have given enough thought before investing in this technology.”
News18 tried to know more about the technology, but didn’t get a response from the chief engineer (roads). The BMC has not officially shared when this technology will be implemented, the amount being spent on it and which company will provide it.