Ali Rajhi - Head of Compliance and City Operators Sector (KSA)_ Ajith Nayar - Co-founder & CEO, CamCom_ Mahesh Subramanian - Co-founder & COO, CamCom_ Umesh - Co-founder & CRO, CamCom_ Susheel Sethumadhavan, Kearney Partner

Saudi Arabia partners with Indian startup to tackle visual pollution using AI

New Delhi — The Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs, and Housing (MoMRAH) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has entered into an agreement with Indian Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup, CamCom to employ AI technology for the automatic detection and assessment of visual pollutants as part of the Quality of Life (QoL) project, which is a key component of the Saudi Vision 2030 initiative.

The QoL project aims to enhance the well-being of residents by creating a more comfortable living environment that aligns with their modern lifestyles. Visual Pollution (VP) is the deterioration or disruption of natural and man-made landscapes that ruin the aesthetic appeal of an area. It also refers to physical elements that limit the movability of people on public roads, such as excavation barriers, potholes, and dilapidated sidewalks.

This is the global first association by a nation to tackle visual pollution using AI, which leads the way to achieving the United Nations (UN) Sustainability Development Goal (SDG) goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities. The project works towards achieving sub goals – 11.3 (enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanisation and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries), 11.4 (Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage), and 11.6 (reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management). CamCom’s AI platform enables detection and classification of construction waste, non-construction waste, manhole issues, road cave-ins etc. among other relevant visual pollutants to achieve the UN targets.

MoMRAH’s implementation of the CamCom AI platform will leverage computer vision technology to process the images uploaded by the citizens through mobile device cameras to auto-detect and classify the visual pollutants present in the images. This will automate many parts of the workflow, thereby increasing efficiency, helping in democratising the services provided to the citizens and maintaining cleanliness in the country of KSA. The AI approach plays an important role in supporting the MoMRAH’s objective to improve prediction performance in real-time.

Talking about the historic association, Ali Rajhi, Head of Compliance and City Operators Sector, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia said “MOMRAH delivers over 40% of all resident-related services across cities and municipalities in the Kingdom. This puts us in a unique position of responsibility to deliver a high quality of life for our people. We have the highest ambitions to make our cities amongst the most sustainably liveable, secure and coveted communities in the world. Visual appeal of cities by eliminating visual pollution is a high priority area for the Kingdom. MOMRAH is at the forefront of bringing advanced technologies and AI to optimize our operations and enable our teams proactively address and fix issues on the ground. We are also excited to partner with the private sector, especially with the SME and startup community to bring agile solutions and speed to action. Our collaboration with CamCom in bringing computer vision as a bleeding-edge enabler has resulted in highly encouraging results in pilot tests. We are proud and excited to formalize our partnership with CamCom, and work with their bright and committed team. We look forward to working with CamCom to eliminate visual pollution, and extend the application of AI and computer vision to other relevant, high-priority topics.”.

Ajith Nayar, Co-founder & CEO of CamCom said, “Rarely does an established company let alone a startup become part of history. This is momentous at multiple levels for CamCom. The world’s first instance of AI being used to meet a UN SDG, the first time it is being rolled out across a country, and most importantly, the use of a startup by a sovereign nation for such a prestigious project. We are extremely thankful to MoMRAH under the guidance of Engr. Ali Rajhi, a visionary if ever there was one. This multi-year engagement will cement the position of CamCom as the preferred “vision” platform of the world. We look forward to engaging with various other ministries and private sector leaders in the kingdom.

Susheel Sethumadhavan, Kearney Partner in MEA and lead of Kearney’s analytics and AI practice said “The partnership between MOMRAH and CamCom is an exciting step in a journey of digital and technology revolution in the Kingdom. MOMRAH has been at the forefront of experimenting cutting-edge technologies to deliver high-quality services to Saudi residents. We see the partnership between MOMRAH and CamCom as a natural alliance. CamCom’s computer vision AI platform has proven to deliver MOMRAH’s ambitions to provide Saudi residents with the highest quality of life, through sustainable, secure and visually appealing communities. Kearney is proud to introduce a burgeoning startup ecosystem to MOMRAH and the Kingdom. We look forward to this partnership being a poster child for public sector and startup collaboration, to improve the quality of life of Saudi residents.

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