Video: Dubai parking tests to soon become completely automated

Nilanjana Gupta (Senior Web Journalist / Videographer)/Dubai Filed on October 9, 2018 | Last updated on October 9, 2018 at 06.34 am
Video: Dubai parking tests to soon become completely automated
Photo by Nilanjana Gupta/Khaleej Times

The smart test, including slope test, emergency brake test, parallel parking test, garage parking test and angle parking test, is completed in 15 minutes.

Think the parking test examiner was unfair? Now take the Dubai parking test without the examiner. All Dubai driving licence applicants will have to take automated parking tests at the Smart Training and Testing Yards by the end of 2018, according to the Roads and Transport Authority. 

"The first smart yard was launched in February 2018 at Dubai Driving Center, Al Khail branch. By the end of September, six yards were in operation. Three more will be ready in October and by the end of this year, all the 14 RTA test centres will have smart testing yards," said Abdullah Yousef Al Ali, CEO of RTA's Licensing Agency. 

More than 6,000 students have taken the smart test since its launch. The smart test, including slope test, emergency brake test, parallel parking test, garage parking test and angle parking test, is usually completed in 15 minutes. 

"Smart yard testing reduces the need of RTA examiners, cuts operational costs, improves accuracy and ensures fairness in assessing the test result," he added. Sensors and high-tech cameras are used to check if a driving licence applicant will pass or fail. It does not involve AI technology but instead it uses video recognition and processing algorithms to check the vehicle's movement and parking lines. An RTA examiner is positioned in a control tower from where he can monitor multiple vehicles at the same time through live video streaming. 

"Each vehicle is equipped with five cameras and around 20 sensors. All the information about the driver's and the vehicle's movement is gathered in the CPU inside the vehicle. The data is analysed by the system and it calculates the student's score and sends it to the control room," he said.  

Pointing at one of the student's test scores, Al Ali said, "If the vehicle touches the parking lines, the student's points will be deducted. A sensor is also used to check if the driver wore his seatbelt. As for safety and security, vehicles are fitted with a safety system considered the first of its kind worldwide. The vehicle can come to a complete halt in case the speed exceeds 35 kmph, or if it approaches an object to the front of a vehicle driving at a speed of 20 kmph, or in the event of crashing into an obstacle in the front." 

No additional fee is required for students to take the smart yard test. Azhar Ahamed, an electrical engineer who passed the parking test in his second attempt, said driving without an RTA examiner boosted his confidence. "I am very happy and excited to have passed the parking test. Now God willing I will clear the road test and hit the streets. I prefer smart yard testing over the old process as it is more reliable and transparent and it allows students to drive independently. There's no scope of human error and we don't need to worry about the judgment of the examiner." 

The initiative is part of RTA's plans in support of the Smart City initiative of Dubai Government. 


Nilanjana Gupta

As a multimedia journalist, I consider it a privilege to tell the stories of people in the UAE and allow the world to meet the people with whom their paths may never cross. I am a graduate of the Broadcast and Digital Journalism master's programme at Syracuse University in New York. Prior to joining Khaleej Times, I interned with Al Jazeera English in Washington DC and worked as a senior news desk editor with CNN-IBN in Delhi.

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