Oceanit launches traffic safety internship with DOT

Aloha AI

On Friday, January 29th, Oceanit hosted a livestream kickoff event from Nanakuli for a new AI traffic monitoring internship project. The kickoff was held in partnership with the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HIDOT) and students from Hawaii Technology Academy (HTA).

The program will focus on the issue of traffic and speeding along the Nanakuli segment of Farrington Highway. The kickoff in Nanakuli was broadcast outside the home of Eddie Werner. Werner’s son, Kaulana, was killed by a drunk driver while walking along Farrington Highway just across the street from the house in 2016. Werner has witnessed drivers speeding at over 100 MPH outside his home on this stretch of Farrington Highway.

The intention of the event was to give students the “what” and “why” of the program and instill a sense of urgency and purpose in their work. Eddie Werner and Deputy Director of DOT Highways, Ed Sniffen, spoke about improving traffic safety and the goals of the project. Governor David Ige also joined the livestream and gave words to encouragement to the students to emphasize the importance of their participation. According to HIDOT, 86 people died on Hawaii roadways in 2020, which represents a downward trend that they hope can be supported by this internship program.

Throughout this program, students will assist in evaluating the effectiveness of raised crosswalks along Farrington Highway by collecting and analyzing speed data using Oceanit’s Aloha AI artificial intelligence infrastructure. The program will take students through every step of the Design Thinking process, coaching them to first find compelling questions to answer. Aside from whether or not cars slow down when there are raised crosswalks, students could help to answer questions such as: Are some types of vehicles more likely to slow down than others? How long does it take for a car to resume speeding again after a raised crosswalk? Are cars more likely to speed going in one direction or another?

This internship program will follow Oceanit’s KILO framework, placing students in direct project work in ongoing Oceanit projects, with real clients, such as HIDOT. This will be the second KILO internship with HIDOT. The first program, which ran from June to December 2020, also looked at traffic along Farrington Highway, but focused on congestion and the types of vehicles on the road.

On February 3rd, Ian, alongside Ed Sniffen from HIDOT and Mary Wenstrom from HTA, appeared on Bytemarks Cafe to further talk about KILO and the educational partnership with HIDOT. Listen to the recording here. 

You can also read more about the HTA partnership on their blog.