Maruti Suzuki introduces smartphone-based driver training tech

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 27 Oct 2020


With an overarching goal to make Indian roads safer, Maruti Suzuki India in collaboration with Microsoft Research India has developed a smartphone-based technology for testing applicants who seek a driver’s license.

The technology – HAMS (Harnessing Automobile for Safety) – has been deployed at Automated Driving Test Centre (ADTC), Dehradun in association with the Transport Department, government of Uttarakhand. The technology is being developed and tested jointly by Maruti Suzuki-promoted Institute of Driving and Traffic Research (IDTR) and Microsoft Research India.

Maruti Suzuki has partnered with State governments to set up state-of-the-art Automated Driving Test Centres. These centres are equipped with advanced video analytic technology to check driving skills of the applicants and replace manual assessment of candidates.

Stringent test delivers accurate results
Deployment of HAMS at ADTC Dehradun has brought encouraging changes in the testing process. It takes only 10 minutes to complete the test and generate the report. The average pass rate now stands at 54% as compared to over 90% in the earlier manual testing mode. According to Maruti Suzuki, feedback from the candidates, including those who fail the test, has been positive. The candidates appreciate the objectivity and transparency of the entire process.

Speaking on the deployment of this new test technology for driver training, Ajay Kumar Tomer, Executive Advisor, Maruti Suzuki India said, “Maruti Suzuki started its driving training initiative in 2000. We have cumulatively trained over 3.4 million drivers nationally. Efficient testing of candidates seeking driver’s license is an important step towards imparting good driving behaviour. Use of latest technologies help bring transparency. HAMS, developed in partnership with Microsoft Research India, is an important tool to modernise the driving license test in our country. Starting with ADTC Dehradun, this technology will be introduced in more centres across several States.”

Explaining the benefits, Shailesh Bagauli, IAS, Secretary, Department of Transport, Government of Uttarakhand, said, “The Government of Uttarakhand is very proud to start this state-of-the-art initiative, where we are using mobile phone-based technology to conduct driver testing. We are delighted to partner with Microsoft and IDTR in this initiative. I am sure we will be able to deliver services in a transparent manner to our citizens.”

Highlighting the benefits of HAMS technology, Sriram Rajamani, Managing Director, Microsoft Research India said, “Positively impacting society by combining technology and human ingenuity has been a core objective for us, and the HAMS project is a great example of this. We use technology to help drivers drive safely. It is inspiring that Maruti Suzuki India and the Department of Transport, Government of Uttarakhand see the potential to save lives using HAMS technology and are piloting this technology to help make Indian roads safer.”

How HAMS works
During the testing process, the applicant’s car is fastened with a HAMS-enabled smartphone that monitors the driver as well as the road in-front. It employs advanced artificial intelligence models for efficient and robust operations. For driving tests, HAMS has been customised to include capabilities such as precise tracking of the vehicle’s trajectory during designated test manoeuvres.

To ensure transparency, in case of a disagreement on the test results, applicants can also avail the option of viewing a video recording of their test drive.

The key technical capabilities of the ADTC Dehradun include:
- Facial recognition to address identity fraud
- Automatic seat belt use detection, for safety compliance
- Automatic detection of traffic signal violations
- Ability to validate driving correctness for standard maneuvers like S-round about, parallel parking, reverse parking
- Monitoring kerb hits
- Automatic generation of test score and  outcome
- Video evidence for candidates who wish to review their test

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