Automated driving track to open in September

A first of its kind in the country, it is spread on a 2.5 acre of land at Mallathahalli


Established as a pilot project, the first automated driving track of the country, at Mallathahalli, Jnanabharathi will finally be inaugurated before September 15, by the Union Minister for Surface Transport and Highways Kamal Nath.

Scheduled to have been inaugurated on July 16, the State Transport Department had to postpone opening it, as the government was preoccupied with a slew of government samaveshas’ or conventions. The Department has now dashed off a letter to the Union Ministry requesting a date for inauguration between September 5 to 15.

The automated centre is spread on a sprawling 2.5-acre land that was part of the Railwaymen House Building Cooperative Society, it has been constructed at a cost of Rs 1.75 crore, and funded jointly by the Union Ministry of Information Technology and the State Government's Department of e-governance. The automated centre is equipped to test around 600 applicants a day, including 400 two-wheeler licence aspirants.

Commissioner for Transport and Road Safety, Bhaskar Rao said, “The state-of-the-art centre will have driving tracks designed in 'S' and '8' shapes. The tracks (two for two-wheelers and one for a four-wheeler) has more than a hundred electronic censors embedded near curves and speed breaker/road humps. The sensors will automatically deduct points if the driver is caught making an error by hitting the sensor-fitted poles while negotiating curves or speed breaker.” 

This apart, closed-circuit cameras or CCTV’s will monitor driving skills. If the driver scores the eligibility marks, he/she will be qualified for the online test where he/she has to answer a questionnaire pertaining to road signals and road safety, he added. The Department will then decide on issuance of driving licence to the aspiring driver provided the candidate has passed all tests.

“Licence-seekers will get an on-the-spot result sheet. By paying a nominal fee, they can also have a CD recording of their performance. Fully computerised, the track eliminates human interference in order to end the menace of corruption, middlemen/touts at RTO’s during the process of obtaining a licence” added a Transport Department official.

Initially, the Department will direct all DL seekers from Kengeri and Rajajinagar RTO’s to Mallathahalli centre for test. Similar automated testing tracks have been proposed at Parappana Agrahara and Yelahanka. All 12 RTO’s across the City (Urban and Rural) will direct DL seekers to these automated tracks at a later stage.

An estimated 3.6 lakh DL’s are issued in a year across all RTO’s,  with 60 per cent being two-wheeler DL seekers. 

Viva-voce

At the end of the test there will be a viva-voce as well, which will be provided at a kiosk, again computerised, where the applicant will be asked 10 questions and on the basis of their answers they will be issued their licence. All this will be done, in a span of just 12 minutes.

Currently, a outdated method of licence issue is followed, where-in a RTO inspector physically accompanies the DL seeker in a 20-25 minute process, which includes a driving test and a road-sign questionnaire. While, those seeking a two-wheeler licence have to show their riding skills on a zigzag test track, four wheeler drivers will have to drive up a gradient without allowing the vehicle to roll back, move on a 8-shaped track, parallel park and reverse and park the vehicle and then pass through an S-shaped stretch. If the driver touches any of the poles on either side of the track, sensors will pass signals to the computer system where it will be recorded and proportionate marks deducted.
“After completion of the track test, the DL applicant would have to answer 10 questions, randomly selected from 600 questions, on a touch screen kiosk. The focus of the exercise is to allow only qualified (in its true sense) licence seekers to drive on public roads. Once in place, a DL seeker will no longer be able to accuse a motor vehicle inspector of intentionally failing him or her in the test. The new method, allows video recording of all movements of the vehicle driven by a DL applicant” Rao explained.

State-run company Keonics, in association with a private firm has provided the necessary electronic components for track infrastructure at Mallathahalli.

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