World’s first AI-backed swing will provide top security to a retreat in the Himalayas
Adrenaline junkies, thrill seekers, and newbies, you might want to add experiencing a first-of-its-kind giant swing backed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) to your bucket list.
Come 2023, tourists in Manali, a gorgeous high-altitude Himalayan town in Himachal Pradesh, a northern state in India. Manali is famed for its jaw-dropping sights and adventure tourism and is popular with backpackers and honeymooners. Founded by four childhood adventure enthusiast friends who are engineers, certified rock climbers, and mountaineers, the start-up, called 'ManaliSwing,' could be an additional feature in Manali's cap.
'ManaliSwing' was incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mandi, and has completed its human jump trials. It is in the process of filing five patents for the concept and design.
According to the team, the AI-backed swing will provide "impeccable" security to the jumpers with more than 100 "jump styles."
The AI can track performance and deliver optimized approvals for jumping
"We will offer one of the world's most creative and safe giant swing-like bungy jumping but instead of going down on rubber bungee cord, here one freefall followed by giant swing on dual dynamic ropes with over 100 possible jump styles allowing one to experience the adrenaline of 70m free fall with AI promising impeccable safety like never before," Utsav Soni, one of the founders, told the Press Trust of India.
Tourists will have to pay Rs 3,000 (USD 36.45) for each jump. "The cost will include transportation from a certain point and professional photography and videography service," he added.
The start-up conducted a full-scale trial of 1,000 dummy jumps followed by successful Human Jumps under the special presence of Industrial Rope Access Trade Association experts at IIT Hyderabad.
"The AI will also help track participants and jump master's performance across millions of data points and deliver optimized approvals for jumping. Having a really intelligent AI will be an edge for a Jump Master and his team making sure no injury, incident, or causality can happen on the site. For example, AI will not approve the jump if there is anything wrong with the followed jump protocol or international standards," said Soni.
At the intersection of technology, innovation, and adventure sports
According to the team members, the swing will be "one of the best intersections of technology, innovation, and adventure sport of this decade which has the potential to disrupt the whole adventure tourism industry." "The good part is that we don't need to have some special hi-tech cameras and expensive setups to do this. This can be franchised anywhere in the world with an existing standard hi-res CCTV security camera feed," clarified Soni.
"India, despite being the world's youngest country with 50 percent population below 25, stands at 96th position in the global Adventure Tourism Competitive Index (ATDI) 2020. That, too, has been consistently decreasing for the last four years. India ranks much lower than its neighbors, Bhutan (14th) and Nepal (67th), especially when there has been a 178 percent increase in demand for an adventure activity in the last three years.
Soni feels that India has failed to cultivate the "culture of innovation" in extreme adventure tourism. "It's Incredible India but not innovative India in terms of adventure tourism compared to its global potential," Soni said.
The team claims it has already been approached by the Dubai government to launch the swing in the country and is in conversation with interested agencies in Switzerland too.
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