Manoeuvring Obstacles
Feature Articles

Manoeuvring Obstacles

February 29, 2020

By B.C. Thimmaiah

[Pics. by M.N. Lakshminarayana Yadav]

Mysuru Regional Transport Office (RTO) East in city has seen a tectonic shift in how driving tests are conducted to issue licences. Tests are now conducted in specially designed Automated Driving Test Tracks which have many segments, each of which has to be passed in a particular time. Mistakes are recorded and incompetent drivers are eliminated in an automatic mode. Those who have failed have to re-appear for the tests. Mind you, these tracks might puncture your confidence as even experienced drivers can face difficulties in manoeuvring this modern track.

Unlike conventional driving tests where applicants are required to drive on a straight road and are examined by a motor Inspector, the automated test track simulates tougher driving conditions that assess an applicant’s driving skills. There is no human intervention and they are fully computerised and the slightest deviation is caught by sensors.

The track is completely automated and results are determined automatically using readings taken from CCTV footage and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) Tags. The entire test has to be completed in specific time. The track was inaugurated on Jan. 24 and it has been in full operation since Feb. 24 at RTO East, Rajivnagar, on the Outer Ring Road.

The track is a joint venture of the Transport Department and the KSRTC. The track technology has been developed by Cascade Systems and Communications, Bengaluru and there are dedicated employees from the company who are operating and maintaining the system on a day-to-day basis.

This Weekend Star Supplement takes readers on a photographic journey through the driving tracks including the ‘Reverse S Bend’, Up Gradient test and ‘Forward 8’ test. Take a look, step by step…

The first step in the test: Identify correct traffic signal

This test evaluates the ability of the candidate to identify mandatory road signs. The system will pick any four road signs from the question database and displays it to the candidate along with eight choices. The candidate has to match each of the road sign with the correct answer from the choice provided.

To pass, the candidate has to answer at least two questions correctly. A candidate who has passed gets the RFID card with a unique number. This card has to be flashed in front of the RFID sensor for the test tracks to open.

Sensor-based process to test two-wheeler driving

Before a candidate takes the two-wheeler test, automatic sensor equipment is placed on the vehicle, touching the candidate’s body and this foot sensor absorbs the signals from the driver like how many times he has put his foot down and speed. The candidate next places the RFID card on the sensor and the track opens for test.

You can knock down only 8 poles on track

The candidate’s driving skill is evaluated on a narrow serpentine track with multiple turns. 58 poles are positioned to mark the track edge and the foot sensor is placed on the vehicle footrest. After green signal, the timer in the dedicated computer is activated. The computer records the time and displacement of any pole or foot-down status. The time limit for this test is 60 seconds. A candidate knocking down not more than 8 poles, not keeping his/ her foot down for long and completing the test within the stipulated time passes.

Before every test, the candidate must stop in front of the entry line, face the camera, and show his / her assigned RFID card to the reader fixed at the start point and wait for the signal to proceed.

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Up the gradient test for four-wheelers

Candidate is expected to drive a car on an up-gradient without any backward movement. When the candidate is asked to proceed with the test, he/ she should position the vehicles within the specific area.

If the vehicle is in proper position, a green light will glow and then the candidate should switch off the engine and apply hand break. If the vehicle is not positioned properly, the signal will turn red. The candidate should start the vehicle and drive forward when the light turns green. Any backward movement during the test is measured through sensors. Backward movement covering not more than 4 sensors will be considered pass.

Prove your reverse parallel kerb parking skills

A candidate has to park the car in the specified space. Nine poles are positioned to mark the track edge. Once the green light glows, the candidate should start the car, move forward to cross the start line, reverse the car and park within the specified area within 180 seconds.

Once the candidate parks the vehicle in proper position the candidate should wait for the green light to glow in the second signal and drive the car in forward direction and cross the stop line. A candidate knocking down not more than three poles and completing the test within the stipulated time will be considered pass.

Manoeuvrability display: Driving in ‘8’

A candidate should drive the car forward in the direction of the arrow mark on a track shaped like digit ‘8’. There are 49 poles positioned to mark the track edges on either side of the track. The time limit for this test is 60 seconds.

After seeing the green signal light, the candidate should drive the vehicle inside the track. A candidate knocking down not more than 6 poles and completing the test within stipulated time will be considered pass.

The bend must be perfect in this reverse ‘S’ bend

A candidate has to enter the track and then drive backwards in the direction of the arrow mark on a track shaped like English alphabet ‘S’. There are 27 poles positioned to mark the track edges on either side. The time limit for this test is 120 seconds. Candidates knocking down not more than 6 poles and completing the test within stipulated time will be considered pass.

No room for mistake in this Point Turn Test

After the green signal flashes, the candidate has to achieve a three point turn by taking two forward and one reverse movement as directed by the arrow marks on a specified area. There are 16 poles positioned to mark the track edges. The time limit for this test is 120 seconds and the sensors will detect extra or incorrect moves.

A candidate knocking down not more than four poles in the given track, not doing extra or incorrect moves and completing the test within the stipulated time will be considered pass Compared to other tests, this is a tough nut to crack.

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Only trained and skilled drivers will get driving licences: RTO

Candidates drive on the track while CCTV cameras mark mistakes automatically. Now, only those who actually know how to drive on city roads will pass. One of the benefits of the track is that it is spread over a compact area. Previously, tests were sometimes taken on the road if there was a lack of space. Now, because several tests can be conducted on the same set, that problem has been solved.

 K.S. Soundarya, RTO East

In the manual test, most inspectors make an applicant drive on a straight road and a few ask them to reverse. Now we have completely reformed the manner in which RTOs work. We are breaking the tout culture and Automated Driving Test Track has completely taken out manual interface in driving tests, ensuring that only trained and skilled drivers get driving licences. This will play a big role in making our streets safer and reducing road accidents. — K.S. Soundarya, RTO East

Track management team

This is the team that operates the Automated Driving Track at RTO East. (From left) Testing Engineer B. Harish and team members Sanjay, Sagar, Raghu, Rakshan, Anand and Yogesh.

For Heavy Motor Vehicles

Forward ‘8’ Test

A candidate should drive the heavy vehicle forward in the direction of the arrow mark on a track shaped like digit ‘8’. There are 56 poles positioned to mark the track edges. The time limit for this test is 60 seconds. Candidates knocking down not more than six poles and completing the test with in stipulated time is considered pass.

Reverse ‘S’ Test

 The candidate has to enter the track and then drive backward in the direction of the arrow mark on a track shaped like English alphabet ‘S’. There are 44 poles positioned to mark the track edges and the time limit is 240 seconds. Candidates knocking down not more than six poles and completing the test within stipulated time will be considered pass.

Reverse parking test

A candidate has to park the heavy vehicle in the specified space. 16 poles are positioned to mark the track edge. The candidate should start the vehicle, move backward to cross the start line and has to drive the vehicle in reverse and park the vehicle within the specified area within 120 seconds. A candidate knocking down not more than 4 poles and completing the test within the stipulated time will be considered pass.

Up gradient test

A candidate is expected to drive the heavy vehicle on an up-gradient without any backward movement. When the candidate is asked to proceed with the test, he should position the vehicles within the specific area.

If the vehicle is in proper position, a green light will glow and then the candidate should switch off the engine and apply hand break. If the vehicle is not positioned properly, the signal will turn red. The candidate should start the vehicle and drive forward when the light turns green. Any backward movement during the test is measured through sensors. Backward movement covering not more than 4 sensors will be considered pass.

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