The Indian traffic department is picking up the pace in leveraging new-age technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) in many of its public services. The latest to join is Uttrakhand’s Regional Transport Office (RTO), which is using a smartphone-based driving test system to test a driver’s ability before issuing him or her a driving licence.
The test system installed at the Dehradun’s RTO, developed by Microsoft Reseach India, is named as Harnessing AutoMobiles for Safety (HAMS). The driving test using HAMS can be conducted by simply attaching a smartphone powered with the AI technology to the car’s windshield.
Reportedly, Microsoft, on Wednesday, said that the technology is ready for wider adoption across other RTOs in the country. The HAMS project was started in 2016 by Venkat Padmanabhan, deputy managing director, Microsoft Research India.
In India, driving licence testing is a crucial problem as many individuals have been issued licences without even giving the test in the first place. A survey from SaveLIFE, a non-profit organisation, highlighted that 59% of the respondents were issued their driving licenses without a test.
In a statement, Padmanabhan stressed that the main challenge in the traditional driver’s license test is the burden placed on the human evaluators and the resulting subjectivity that a candidate faces. “Automation using HAMS technology can not only help relieve evaluators of the burden but also makes the process objective and transparent for candidates,” he added.
How AI-based HAMS Works?
The automated test system, HAMS, uses the smartphone’s front and rear cameras and sensors to keep an eye on the driving skills of the driver. With the help of these smartphone features, the AI technology monitors parameters like drivers’ attention, distance maintained from other vehicles, etc.
The HAMS is also enabled to precisely track the vehicle’s trajectory during designated test manoeuvres. The tracking further helps in determining whether the driver halted for longer than is permitted or tried to course-correct by rolling forwards and backwards more times than allowed.
After the test is completed, HAMS, on an edge server onsite at the testing track, will produce and share a detailed report highlighting all the necessary details.
Akshay Nambi, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research India shared with ET that on average, over 50 candidates take the HAMS-enabled automated licence test every day at the Dehradun RTO.
Nambi further informed that due to the comprehensive nature of testing, just about 50% of candidates pass the test. This ensures that only qualified drivers are given a driver’s license.
Not only Uttrakhand’s Regional Transport Office, but Bengaluru police department has also to new-age technologies for making day to day functioning easier. Earlier this month, Bengaluru rolled out its plans to introduce AI-based traffic signals at most city junctions.