NEW DELHI

Delhi set to have automated driving test tracks; first facility to open next month

The Delhi government will formally take the first step towards making its automated driver test project a reality here on Wednesday, with the first such facility expected to be available for use by January next year.

MoU with Maruti

The project will involve the creation of automated driving test tracks at a dozen facilities in the Capital to assess the driving skills of applicants before being allowed a licence. The government will sign a pact with Maruti Suzuki India Limited for developing 12 automated driving test tracks.

Once operational, the testing facilities will require applicants to share their biometrics to take driving tests and allow visual identification through a separate camera installled on the test vehicle.

As reported by The Hindu on October 24, the project aims not only to ensure that drivers with “adequate skills” were granted licences to make the Capital’s streets safer, but also avoid corruption related to issuance of licences across Motor Licencing Officers (MLOs) in Delhi.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed with the automobile manufacturer in the presence of Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the L-G’s office, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot announced here.

“The first automated track is expected to be launched around January 26 next year at Sarai Kale Khan. The human interface, in the form of an MLO official, will no longer be at the core of the issue of driving licences,” Mr. Gahlot said, adding that the introduction of automated tracks will ensure that the process of issuing driving licenses by MLOs assumes “greater quality and accuracy”.

The tracks, equipped with cameras and sensors, will be developed at the Transport Department’s facilities at Hauz Khas, Burari, Jharoda Kalan, Dwarka, Mayur Vihar, Pratap Nagar, Surajmal Vihar, Loni Border, Rohini, Raja Garden and Shakur Basti.

Cost of Rs. 1 crore

An area of around one acre has been demarcated at these locations and the creation of the tracks will cost around Rs. 1 crore each. “These will be readied within six to nine months,” the Minister added.

Different varieties of testing tracks are used across the country to test drivers’ skills before issuance of licences. In Ahmedabad for instance, two-wheeler driving test tracks, up-gradient test tracks, 8-shaped test tracks, reverse parallel parking test tracks, reverse ‘S’ test tracks and full test tracks are in operation. Similar tracks are in place at Bengaluru and in multiple cities in Kerala.

The inking of the MoU follows the submission of separate recommendations by different teams tasked with studying similar systems already in operation in different cities such as Bengaluru.

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