Google will be using AI to predict flooding in India

Rescuers evacuate people from a flooded area to a safer place in Aluva in the southern state of Kerala, India. Photo: Reuters

Google and the Central Water Commission of India will be issuing impending flood alerts across the country. 

These alerts will be sent out as a part of Google’s Public Alerts Program, which provides a warning before disasters cause damage and information on how to stay safe.  These alerts are integrated into apps like Google Search, Maps and Google Now, warnings before events like hurricanes and earthquakes will be issued by partnered government agencies in 12 countries.

Flood alerts in India are the latest addition to the Google Public Alerts Program.

In a blog post, Google VP of Engineering Yossi Matias said every year, floods affect well over 250 million people and cause billions in damages. While many countries are able to forecast impending floods, many are not able to do so accurately enough to be effective.

Google claims it has created better models to predict when flooding will occur using AI. These models use historical data, river level readings and terrain elevation, among other things, to predict when flooding will occur.

Flood alert shown to users in the Patna, India | Source: Google

Google is starting this service because almost 20% of all flood-related deaths take place in India. It plans to expand the service to other countries soon.



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