Roads & Transport Authority automates driver testing process

Smart Yard will use automated monitoring of learner drivers in the manoeuvre test phase

The RTA's Smart Yard fully automates the Yard Test part of a learner driver's licensing test
The RTA's Smart Yard fully automates the Yard Test part of a learner driver's licensing test

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has automated parts of the driver licence testing process with its Smart Yard project.

The Smart Yard is a sensor-equipped test yard where learner drivers carry out their vehicle manoeuvre test. The yard has now been fully automated to assess learners and issue a pass or fail decision without human intervention.

The RTA said the project speeds up testing and cuts waiting lists.

“The project aims to hit multiple targets highlighted by bringing more transparency and reducing the error margin in taking the Pass or Fail decision in respect of the examinee without human intervention, thanks to the mart system in use. The process steps up the efficiency of the testing process through the automated and coherent operation of several smart vehicles. It also improves safety, thanks to the use of technology to avoid accidents,” said Khaled Alsalehi, Director of Drivers Training and Qualification Department in RTA’s Licensing Agency.

Explaining the benefits of the project, Alsalehi said: “The system has been applied to 15 testing yards in Dubai, and about 108,603 smart testing processes have been completed since the launch of the project.

“Innovation has become a defining feature of RTA projects and initiatives, and the smart testing yard is not an exception. The yard is fitted with five surveillance cameras; four outside the testing vehicle to guide the examinee to the five manoeuvres, and one camera on board to verify the identity of the driver undertaking the test. The vehicle is also fitted with more than 20 sensors to assist the examinee in avoiding a collision when approaching an obstacle,” said Al Salhi.

“Cameras and sensors capture the vehicle’s information, such as the use of brakes and safety belt, and relay the test images to an interactive screen at a control tower in the testing yard managed by RTA employee. At the same time, the test inputs (information and videos) are analysed by a high-speed processor on board the vehicle to assess the driver and decide on the test result (Pass or Fail) without any human intervention.

“The Smart Yard initiative has helped RTA to overcome another challenge; some examinees claiming that results of their tests were sometimes impacted by different perceptions of examiners about mistakes deemed worthy of re-testing. The technology in place now eliminates this issue as it takes impartial decisions that cannot be challenged,” he added.

The vehicle manoeuvre test, known as the yard test, comprises of parallel parking, side parking, garage parking, hill, and sudden braking. The full test includes theory and road testing.

Earlier this month Abu Dhabi Police announced a pilot project to use connected cars to monitor drivers while taking their licence test.

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