In the quest to curb the number of road accidents in India, the government is planning a large-scale deployment robotic flagman to save lives. In addition, it can also help road construction companies cut down on labor costs. According to the ‘Road Accidents in India’ report, national highways accounted for 29.6 per cent of the road accidents and 34.5 per cent of the people killed in 2016. The year saw 480,652 road accidents, which claimed 150,785 lives.
These robots, used by some of the road construction giants like Ashoka Buildcon and IL&FS Transportation Networks (ITNL) are already churning results on their sites. These companies are using robots to regulate traffic at some of their construction sites. A robotic flagman is an automated human skeleton made from plastic mounted on a stand and supported by a steel frame or wheels.
According to these companies, deploying a stationary robot in the direction of traffic can reduce the likeliness of an injury to a human being in case the vehicle enters a work zone.
In the past three to four years, labor costs have been the highest contributor to the increase in construction costs of highways. Labor costs involved in road construction have increased almost 50 per cent in the past three years. Though flagmen are a small portion of the entire labor at work, this could be seen as a start of using advanced technology techniques for road construction. The cost of a single robotic flagman is pegged at Rs 52,500, exclusive of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).