Uber Hosts Machine Learning Hackathon in Kenya

Tech World

Nov. 2, 2020, 4:40 p.m.

Uber, the giant logistics company has partnered The World Bank, data science competition platform Zindi, and Flare, a speedy emergency service app to host a Machine Learning hackathon.

The hackathon is aimed at bringing together data scientists, innovators and startups to create innovative solutions for successful ambulance deployment strategies in Kenya.

Participants will be able to create innovative solutions and strategies for ambulance deployment that will allow for quicker response times when it comes to road traffic accidents which likely will increase the chances of survival.

For the challenge, The World Bank has collected information on thousands of traffic accidents that have occurred in Nairobi, Kenya in 2018 and 2019. For this competition, Zindi will be providing a platform for participants to use the training data (recorded crashes up to June 2019) along with supplementary data from Uber Movement, road survey data and weather patterns to identify patterns of risk across the city. They must then use these findings to place six virtual ambulances around the city, moving them around throughout the day with the goal of minimising the distance travelled when responding to crashes during the test period.

Darius Moruri, winner of first place in the hackathon proposed an approach that combines custom functions to re-project the city’s geographic coordinate system as well as finding optimal locations across Nairobi where ambulances can be positioned, among others.

Brian Njao, Head of Uber in East Africa said, “Bringing together young data scientists, startups and innovators in Kenya with the goal of providing effective solutions to assist those in need is at the heart of this challenge. We are so excited to witness the various strategies and solutions that can one day be used to save the lives of many Kenyans.”

Other solutions developed from the hackathon included one that was reliant on using data on common crash locations in Nairobi to determine the best locations to avail ambulance services. The teams also used traffic data from Uber Movement to determine the best ambulance deployment strategies.

Through this hackathon, Uber aims to raise awareness and provide a critical component for reducing morbidity and mortality.

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Dorcas Benewaa Author

Dorcas is an upcoming journalist. She loves the creative arts and loves to write about startups, digital arts and issues in the tech sector.