Speaking To The Car

Though part of his routine University curriculum, Anwar Naseer explored the possibility of using speech to command a car and he succeeded. Now, he is working on a prototype for Volkswagen, reports Umar Mukhtar

Anwar Naseer Khan

In 2013, Anwar Naseer Khan, 23, a resident of Dalgate Srinagar, had to opt for a project as part of university curriculum. Khan was studying electrical and electronic engineering (EEE) at Shri Ram Memorial University (SRM), Chennai and was in the second year.

The students had to choose their projects with the consent of the concerned teacher. Most of the projects were about the ‘vehicle systems.’ Khan’s various classmates took the traditional way-out, find an easy project and get going. But Khan opted for something different: he took a project on ‘voice-based vehicle parameter control.’

Khan discussed this project with his teacher, C Jeeva who teaches electrical machines and robotics. Once discussed, Jeeva gave him a nod to go ahead. Khan had a rough design in his mind and quickly he started working on it.

The project was aimed at creating a system where voice control enabled system takes over vehicle controls.

It was not a typical laboratory work. It needed many things to be fitted. So it imposed costs on Khan. He needed a device ardunio- an open-source platform used for building electronics projects. He bought it for Rs 7000. Apart from this device, Khan needed DC relays of 5volt in his project. Relays are the electromechanical switches used for regulating the power supply. He fitted all the devices as he needed.

Apart from the hardware that needed to be fitted in the device Khan had to make it programmable too. Now it was the software part. Khan took help of a friend, a computer software engineer. He sat with him for almost a week and told him how exactly he wants to make it. Finally, they made software for the Khan’s project.

After completing the programming, Khan was all set to test his project. But to his dismay, it did not go well. He commanded left and it turned right and vice versa. Same was happening with front and back options. It was getting all reverse.

“After a very tiring hard work when the results did not match, it hurts and the person gets discouraged,” said Khan. Khan had also the time restraint as he had to submit it to the university also.

After the initial disappointment, Khan did not lose the hope. Instead, he showed his commitment and passion towards his project. He again started working on the project. He again took help of his computer software engineer friend and started reprogramming. Finally, he managed to develop what he wanted to. Khan fitted it to an artificial car for testing and it worked. So Khan made a prototype of his project.

“It was a hit and trial method, that I used them and finally I was successful in my project,” said Khan.

Once he completed the project, Khan was applauded for his achievement by everyone around. As the project was part of the university curriculum, he had to submit this project to the university. But Khan took his department into the confidence to review his project without actually submitting it. He wanted to take this project further. So university helped him and accepted it without actually submitting. “The university helped, they gave me every relaxation in completing my project,” said Khan.

Detailing about the features of the module that he prepared, Khan said that the device works on speech command. Apart from it the device has been programmed in such a way that when it is fitted to any vehicle, the accelerator gets jammed at a certain speed near sensitive zones like in schools or the hospitals. The honking also gets jammed in no horn zones.

Soon after completing his engineering graduation in 2016, Khan wrote a research paper about his project. After completing writing the paper, he was looking to get it published. He sent it to two-three journals for publishing. The research paper was ultimately carried by International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer Science and Software Engineering (IJARCSSE) in July 2016.

A month later, in August 2016 Khan gets a call and email from Volkswagen- a German-based vehicle manufacturing company. He was asked that the company is interested in his project. Volkswagen is one of the world’s reputed car manufacturers with huge kitty for R&D.

The company has asked Khan to develop a new blueprint in A3 CAD and have given a time up to end December 2018. Khan is now working on the blueprint and had almost three-quarter work done.

“Though I had a lot of conviction about this project at the same time I was nervous about getting the positive results,” recalls Khan with a smile on his lips.

There are systems which enable cars to react to the speech command but the mechanism is not such diverse as I had made and it is first of its kind, claims Khan.

Khan is now working in Nelumbo, a manufacturing company of relay panels and auto machines at Srinagar.

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