A virtual feel of gridlock, before hitting the road

No sweat: Hoping to drive a real bus soon, an aspirant steers a virtual one at the institute at Malavalli.   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

Driving a bus in Bengaluru traffic is a challenge even for the most experienced drivers, and a nightmare for newbies. So the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is deploying virtual reality to give new entrants a feel of what is in store, using a ₹2 crore simulator.

The Australia-made machine hums with activity at the transport corporation’s training centre at Malavalli. It flashes images of vehicle swarms through which drivers must navigate. The experience is available also to those aspiring for licences to drive cars and other light vehicles.

The motion-based simulator gives a feel of tough terrain, hills, narrow roads and, of course, Bengaluru’s notorious traffic in different weather conditions. One route is Silk Board to Majestic, the transport hub. There are other sections too, such as Bengaluru to Tumakuru highway, Hubballi to Annigeri, Kakinje to Kottigehara, Shivamogga to Thirthahalli, and Sirsi to Kumta. Of 177 students enrolled for its month-long course, four are women: two are training for a light motor vehicle licence and two others for heavy vehicle licence.

Women try buses

Malashree M.R., a BA graduate from Mandya, wants to be a bus driver. “The driving experience on the simulator feels almost real. I joined this institute to enter the KSRTC. I was driving an autorickshaw earlier,” she said.

Ramya S.N., who has studied up to Pre-University was encouraged by her husband, who is a KSRTC driver. “I too want to join the KSRTC,” she said.

The principal of the centre at the Driver and Technical Training Institute, B. Boraiah, said, the system works using video footage turned into animation. “This is motion-based and drivers almost feel like driving an actual bus.” The simulator also trains drivers on how to react in an emergency and to avoid accidents involving pedestrians. Accident-prone drivers are asked to use it for skill upgradation. The centre has trained 6,481 KSRTC drivers since 2014 and 1,232 aspirants to get LMV and HPV driving license.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 4:20:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/a-virtual-feel-of-gridlock-before-hitting-the-road/article24182195.ece

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