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IRCTC introduces cameras with AI technology for bug-free food in Indian Railways

Better food for customers as private catering players like RK associates, Rail restro and Otik foods look to capitalize on AI based changes. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has recently introduced an advanced technology method to monitor the food production process meant for the trains. The corporation has been constantly putting efforts to ensure quality food for the railway passengers.

The new system is known as the Artificial Intelligence (AI) module, under which a network of CCTV cameras will be set up in the base kitchens to find the glitches in the operating procedure of the kitchens, if any.

The new implementation is a result of the Comptroller and Auditor General audit report of July 2017, which termed the railway food as “unsuitable” for human consumption.

The catering, tourism and online ticketing arm of the Indian Railways, IRCTC developed the AI module in association with a Delhi-based Artificial Intelligence platform, Wobot. The system will be used to equip 16 base kitchens of the Indian Railways, where eight high definition CCTV cameras will be placed in each kitchen.

Private players catering food to the railway passengers will have to be extra cautious in the production and packaging. The new system has been unnerving for some contractors.

However, companies like Rail Restro by Manish Chandra, RK Associates by Rajeev Mittal, Deepak & Co, and Otik Food are keen on the initiative of IRCTC. Each of these companies have a large catering portfolio and cater to millions of customers on a daily basis.

As AI assists in monitoring the preparation activities at the kitchens, these contractors look forward to its implementation – and deliver better food for the railway customers.

The AI module is designed to ensure that particular standards of hygiene are met. For example, if the system detects a rodent or a cockroach in any of the kitchens, a red flag will be raised automatically.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Railways, “The AI module realizes the value of their videos and photos with vision computing. It can detect an unexpected change or an event that does not conform to the expected pattern using their machine learning algorithms.”

Rajeev Mittal of RK Associates is of the opinion that the new implementation is not just beneficial for passengers. Besides, the caterers will also be able to enhance the quality of the food served in their name.

A central control room is based in New Delhi, where the authorities will access data from the AI and monitor the activities of the kitchens. Under the new system, these authorities will also be able to make announcements to the base kitchens.

An IRCTC official informed, “To begin with, 16 base kitchens of IRCTC have been installed with high definition cameras connected to huge monitors for AI vision detection. Live streaming of 16 base kitchens will be done.”

The official added, “Suppose a chef or any kitchen supervisor is not wearing uniform, including the mandatory cap, the AI system will track that and automatically raise a report to the concerned contractor immediately. If the matter is not addressed within a certain time, it will further be reported to IRCTC authorities in charge

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