Out of the total 1.5 lakh deaths occurring on Indian roads every year, the capital city Delhi leads by a fair margin. According to the latest data released by Delhi Traffic Police, 1,562 fatal road accidents were reported in city in which 1,604 people lost their lives, as compared to 1,584 casualties reported in 1,565 crashes reported in 2017. Experts believe around 80 % of the crashes occur due to driver negligence as they often don't undergo formal driver training process to operate safely on roads and end up flouting all laid down procedures with the help of touts and manual interventions.
In December 2017, Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) signed an MoU with the Delhi Transport Department to develop a system to step up testing of skills for driving licence applicants in Delhi. On March 6, 2019 MSIL in collaboration with the Delhi government inaugurated Delhi's first fully Automated Driving Test Centre (ADTC) at Mayur Vihar Phase 1 Regional Transport Office, to strengthen its commitment to increase road safety in Delhi. The aim of the project is to reform driving licensing system and to encourage people to go for proper driving training, said Ajay Kumar Tomer, Executive Director (Corporate Planning), MSIL. Maruti Suzuki already has 50 driver training centres set up across the city in collaboration with IDTR, and the transport department to upskill the drivers and reduce road fatalities. While the Delhi Transport Department will operate the facility immediately, Maruti Suzuki will maintain it for the next 3 years, stated the company.
MSIL opted for a fully automated centre based on the feedback it received over the semi manual driver testing technology Aritra (a camera-based image processing technology), to minimise manual intervention and also avoid any system malfunction due to bad weather. The company has tied up with Hyderabad based Nipun Technologies and Smartchip Technologies for technical support to make the total licencing system comprehensive, efficient and stringent. The system will make it practically possible to test the driver skills required as per CMVR, which was impossible under time consuming manual testing procedure, said Tomer.
ADTC gets a scientifically designed test track that is spread across one acre of land and is closely monitored by 20 high resolution cameras and sensors. Every applicant holding a valid learner's licence will have to apply online only for a mutually suitable time slot at the centre and is issued a unique code. The fully automated driving test facility uses access control to avoid any third party involvement during the testing stages. Access Control will permit entry of applicants only at the pre-assigned time slots using the code issued, to allow testing of over 300 applicants per day, thus making it efficient and convenient, said Tomer. The applicant will also be encouraged to take an online walk through of the ADTC to understand the procedure, where he will have to show manoeuvrability skills during testing.
Once the applicant undergoes bio-metric validation and document verification, the seven stage ADTC will evaluate applicants against 20 essential driving skills, in line with Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR) and National Informatics Centre's Sarathi. Video analytics technologies allow capturing of real time videos using cameras and sensors spread across two separate tracks - each for two wheelers and four wheelers. The tracks are designed in a way to allow testing of up to four vehicles at a time to minimise long queues at the RTOs, said Tomer.
For the four wheelers, ADTCs will test applicants across tracks for reverse parallel parking, upgradient, forward-8, reverse-S, traffic junction, H-track. A track to test overtaking skills has also been introduced for the first time to educate proper overtaking skills on roads. For a two-wheeler license the applicants have to drive around a serpentine track, to showcase their manoeuvring skills. They will also be tested for emergency braking skills and skills to ride on a straight ramp, both introduced for the first time. A special exit passage on each track is made so that applicants who fail mid-way can easily exit without disturbing other applicants and thus save time, said Tomer.
With the launch of ADTC at RTO Mayur Vihar, simultaneously three more centres were inaugurated in Delhi - Vishwas Nagar, Shakubasti and Sarai Kale Khan. Over the next two months, eight new ADTCs will be launched across various locations in Delhi - Lado Sarai, Raja Garden, Hari Nagar, Burari, Loni, Rohini, Jharoda Kalan and Dwarka, taking the overall centres to 12 in total. MSIL has invested over Rs 20 crores across 12 centres depending upon the size. Over the next two months, MSIL expects to cover around 25 % of the applicants through ADTCs and looks at 90 % applicants over the next four months.