Driving License Test Becomes Automated In This Indian City; Microsoft Starts Test Run

Driving License Test Becomes Automated In This Indian City; Microsoft Starts Test Run
Driving License Test Becomes Automated In This Indian City; Microsoft Starts Test Run

As per the news,  a new way to simplify the tedious procedure of issuing driver licenses is discovered by an American company. 

The second best thing is, an early sneak peek of the solution is now live in some parts of India.

According to the report, in Dehradun, the Indian state Uttarakhand near the Himalayan foothills, people do not have to sit next to an instructor while taking their driving licenses in recent times.

Then the question arises, what exactly they must be doing than. It’s not a magic, here is the simple thing they had to do –

Their cars are fitted with a smartphone which had that was running HAMS a device, Its an AI project developed by a Microsoft Research team. 


What Is HAMS?

According to Microsoft – In the Harnessing AutoMobiles for Safety, or HAMS, project, we use low-cost sensing devices to construct a virtual harness for vehicles. 

The goal is to monitor the state of the driver and how the vehicle is being driven in the context of a road environment that the vehicle is in.

How Does HAMS Work?

HAMS simply uses a smartphone’s front and rear cameras and other sensors to monitor the driver (their gaze), and the road ahead of them. 

According to the Microsoft Research team, for driver tests, they customized HAMS to enable precise tracking of a vehicle’s trajectory during test maneuvers such as parallel parking or negotiating a roundabout.

This AI technology will help in determining Driver’s response during the test as it can determine whether the driver performed any action like stopping in the middle of a test or course-correcting by rolling forward or backward more times than they were allowed during the test.

In addition to that, it also monitors things like whether a driver scanned their mirrors before changing lanes.

What Is The Vision Behind This Technology?

The deployment of HAMS-based driver license testing at the Dehradun RTO is a “significant step towards the Transport Department’s goal of providing efficient, world-leading services to the citizens of Uttarakhand. We are proud to be among the pioneers of the application of AI to enhance road safety,” said Shri Shailesh Bagauli, IAS, secretary of government of Uttarakhand.

HAMS was basically developed to monitor drivers and their driving to improve road safety. 

The team said “Driver training and testing are foundational to this goal, and so the project naturally veered in the direction of helping evaluate drivers during their driving test,”.

What Should We Expect From The Future?

AI is spreading its wings as automation is slowly making its way to driver testing across the world.

But it’s not the end of the world as it still requires the deployment of extensive infrastructure such as pole-mounted video cameras along the test track. 

The HAMS can bring down the cost of automation while improving test coverage by including a view within the vehicle said Microsoft’s team.

Why A New Technology Like HAMS?

According to some surveys (PDF), a significant number of applicants don’t even show up to take a test to obtain their license because of the “burden” they would have to go through. 

Venkat Padmanabhan, deputy managing director, Microsoft Research India said that “Automation using HAMS technology can not only help relieve evaluators of the burden but also make the process objective and transparent for candidates,”.

He was the one who started the HAMS project in 2016.

Why Are They Testing In India?

India is one of the last great growth markets with several unique local challenges and makes a perfect choice for this kind of testing.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise as American technology companies are increasingly expanding their presence in India.

Not only Microsoft other companies like Google and Amazon have also used India as a testbed to build solutions for the local market and some of which eventually make it to other countries.

What Other Projects Present In Their Portfolio?

Earlier also,  Microsoft has developed some tools to help the farmers of rural parts in India to increase their crop yields and also worked with hospitals to prevent avoidable blindness

Last year the company has partnered with Apollo Hospitals to create an AI-powered API customized to predict the risk of heart diseases in India.

Another initiative was last year when the company worked with cricket legend Anil Kumble to develop a tracking device that helps youngsters analyze their batting performance

In the same line, Microsoft has also tied up with insurance firm ICICI Lombard to help it to process customers’ repair claims and renew lapsed policies using an AI system.

While talking about Google, It has also developed a range of services and tools for India. 

According to the report, the company last year launched a tool to help the publishers in bringing local language written stories to the web easily. (reference)

While this year, the company unveiled improvements it has made to its flood prediction tool and also brought several popular apps such as YouTube Go and Google Station started as India-only services.

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