Cycling

ROAD SAFETY COUNCIL PLANS $1M “AI ROBOT” TO TARGET CYCLISTS AND PEDESTRIANS

A Transit Jam artist’s impression of how the Mr Safegg “AI Robot” could look

The Road Safety Council (RSC) has approved $1 million of taxpayers’ money to be spent on two or three “AI Robots” which will deliver road safety messages to cyclists and pedestrians.

The move was revealed in the minutes of a November 2021 meeting which were published on Friday evening.

According to the meeting minutes, the artificial intelligence of the robots will be found in cameras which will “identify target groups and prevent vandalism”, together with “AI Natural language communication for interaction with members of the public”.

The robot will take the appearance of RSC mascot Mr Safegg and, according to the minutes of the meeting, will give a number of messages to cyclists and pedestrians including reminding cyclists to wear helmets, reminding cyclists to dismount at “cyclist dismount” signs, reminding pedestrians not to walk on cycle tracks and reminding the public not to use e-mobility devices.

While the minutes give no names of those putting forward the ideas or details of who was present at the meeting, the head of RSC’s Innovation & Technology committee is Eric Yeung Chuen-sing, a member of Our Hong Kong Foundation and founder of Skyzer VC Group, a technology and entertainment investor.

Also on the RSC committee is Witman Hung, a well-known figure in advocating for the use of robotics and AI in the service sector. Hung, who is also Hong Kong’s Principal Liaison officer for Shenzhen’s Qinhai Authority, has promoted the “digitally enabled new economy” as outlined by the National Development Reform Commission (NDRC) in its plans for the Greater Bay Area.

Separately, RSC made the news last week as Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam suggested officials attending RSC council member Witman Hung’s 200-strong birthday party on 3 January may have been there on official business to “discuss Road Safety Council matters”.

Neither RSC or the officials involved – including police chief Raymond Siu – have responded to questions on what RSC matters were discussed at the apparently drunken birthday party and whether it was an appropriate venue to discuss road safety.

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