AI-powered smart pedestrian crossing system launched in Dubai


Fourteen crosswalks in Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), the special economic zone for knowledge and innovation, have been equipped with new AI and machine-learning pedestrian detection and warning systems from Derq.

Derq’s Real-Time Perception and Connectivity AI Platform is specifically designed to detect pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users (VRUs) with exceptional accuracy and reliability. This pioneering system, the first of its kind in the region, seamlessly integrates with road infrastructure to enhance safety measures.

Using patented behavior prediction models, the technology can proactively activate flashing warning signs, in-road warning lights, and even traffic signal controllers in anticipation of pedestrians crossing, effectively preempting any potential conflicts with approaching vehicles.

The system also collects valuable data to enhance road users’ awareness and relevant authorities’ responsiveness to safety issues and traffic performance. This achievement follows extensive testing over a period of two years, which has been conducted to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the proof of concept. 

The collaboration between Derq and the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIEZ) is part of a wider partnership, where both entities joined forces to provide DSO with cutting-edge capabilities and smart city solutions. 

Dubai Silicon Oasis technology park, residential area and free zone in Dubai

Dubai Silicon Oasis technology park, residential area and free zone in Dubai

“The implementation of Derq’s AI Smart Pedestrian Crossing System at DSO aligns directly with the objectives outlined in the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan,” says Muammar Al Katheeri, chief officer  for engineering and sustainability at DIEZ. “By integrating this state-of-the-art technology, we are creating an exceptional environment that prioritizes innovation, safety, and sustainability.

“This system serves as a cornerstone in cementing DSO’s position as a technologically advanced zone, offering residents and business partners a seamless and intelligent living and working experience. Through our longstanding partnership with Derq, we will continue to make remarkable progress in ensuring pedestrian safety and advancing Dubai’s smart city agenda.” 

“Our collaboration with DIEZ aligns well with the vision of Dubai’s Crown Prince, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to establish Dubai as a bicycle-friendly city with robust safety measures and to promote eco-friendly transportation options,” says Dr Georges Aoude, CEO and co-founder of Derq. “DIEZ has played a crucial role in the successful implementation of our cutting-edge AI Smart Pedestrian Crossing system in DSO. As we remain steadfast in our mission to drive the future of road safety and enable the seamless and efficient movement of road users and autonomous vehicles, this milestone holds significant importance. We look forward to sharing the positive impact of our efforts in Dubai and on a global scale.” 

The new system’s AI algorithms are designed to detect and track vehicles and other road users approaching the pedestrian crosswalk. This capability maximizes the effectiveness of the system on the reaction time of the approaching surrounding vehicles. The system’s control algorithms also provide the flexibility to activate or deactivate alerts and control their duration, allowing for customization based on specific crossing scenarios. Alerts can be configured to remain active for a predetermined crossing time or as long as a pedestrian is detected in the crosswalk or its vicinity. This advanced functionality ensures optimal safety and efficient traffic management at pedestrian crossings. 

Additionally, the system is equipped with an ultra-high speed and low latency 5G connection, providing seamless connectivity. This advanced connectivity enables extensive data collection of safety events and traffic data, while also facilitating remote operation, maintenance, and configuration capabilities for the system’s operator. In the future, the system will be able to leverage 5G communication technologies to effectively communicate safety information and alerts to connected vehicles approaching the pedestrian crosswalk. 

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).