Automated driving test centre due next year

People learn how to drive at New Vision Driving School at Remera. / File.

A new one stop centre that will eliminate human contact and usher in a completely computerised system of sitting both theoretical and practical driving tests will be ready in June next year, members of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security heard this week.

This was revealed in a meeting that brought together the MPs, the Rwanda National Police (RNP) and the Ministry of Internal Security aimed at updating the committee about the current status of some of the activities related to security.

The RNP Commissioner for Finance, CP Vincent Sano, told the MPs that the centre is being constructed in Busanza area, Kicukiro District at a cost of Rwf6 billion.

“This will reduce discrepancies and corruption and it will improve on service delivery,” he said.

In an interview, the RNP Spokesperson, John Bosco Kabera, told The New Times that the facility, whose construction kicked off in December 2017, will provide different services to aspiring drivers including vision screening prior to taking tests.

“The one stop centre will offer applicants computer-based theoretical driving exams and once they pass, they will go ahead and get their provisional driver’s license at the centre. We feel this will contribute a lot to time-saving,” he said.

Kabera said that that automated practical driving tests will not only save time but will improve transparency, fairness and produces more qualified drivers.

Given that the centre will be operating on a daily basis and will provide different test schedules, applicants will be able to enjoy flexibility, he added.

“The non-automated manual drivers testing system tends to be subjective and depends heavily on the integrity and experience of the examiner...and it limits accessibility. So, this will be a great change,” Kabera said.

Capacity

Upon completion, the facility shall have capacity to conduct tests for 1,000 - 1,200 people per day in the theoretical test area and 230 - 250 per day in the practical test area.   

Currently, across the country, about 20,000 people take the exam monthly.

In Kigali city alone, about 9,000 examinees take these tests. On average,  only 30 per cent of them pass the test, with most of them retaking the test up to four times, according to figures from RNP.

How it works

In India, for instance, there are more than five automated driving test facilities.

According to available information, there are about 24 various parameters that test the applicants based on the readings from an array of sensors and high-resolution cameras that track the applicants.

The driving test is recorded by sensor-based CCTV cameras placed along the track.

The video is live-streamed to a control room and evaluation is done automatically by the software. 

The final result is generated after analysing the number of times the kerbs are hit, unscheduled stops, total time taken, etc.

This ensures a fair test with dependable results every time an applicant does a test.

The test centres are designed in a way that no one can cheat or send a professional driver to attend the test instead since they record the applicant’s biometrics.

An additional advantage

The construction of the facility is part of broad changes that the Government has rolled out to improve road safety while easing access to service delivery. 

Last year, the Ministry of Infrastructure finally gave a green light for prospective drivers to use cars with automatic transmissions during practical driving tests.

An estimated 60 per cent of the cars used in Rwanda are automatic. 

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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