Microsoft's AI Project Made Driving Tests In India Smarter
Sun, April 11, 2021

Microsoft's AI Project Made Driving Tests In India Smarter

Driver license tests at Uttrakhand have incorporated Microsoft Research team's HAMS / Photo Credit: yurakrasil (via Shutterstock)


In Dehradun, the capital of the Indian state of Uttrakhand, hundreds of people who have taken their driver's license test do not have to sit beside an instructor, as reported by Manish Singh of TechCrunch, an American online tech publisher. Instead, a smartphone running HAMS (Harnessing AutoMobile for Safety), an AI project developed by a Microsoft Research team, would be affixed in their cars for their driving tests. The AI utilizes a phone’s front and rear cameras and other sensors in order to track a driver’s gaze and the road ahead of them. 

The Microsoft Research team stated they customized HAMS to precisely track a vehicle’s trajectory during test maneuvers like parallel parking or negotiating a roundabout. The technology is capable of determining “whether the driver performed any action” during the test, the team added. Such actions range from stopping in the middle of a test course to course-correcting. Moreover, HAMS will check if the driver “scanned their mirrors before changing the lane.” 

IAS secretary of the government of Uttrakhand Shri Shailesh Bagauli noted that utilizing HAMS for driver license tests at the Dehardun RTO is a “significant step towards the Transport Department’s goal of providing efficient, world-leading services to the citizens of Uttarakhand.” Originally, the technology was developed to “monitor drivers and their driving” to enhance road safety. 

The team explained that driver training and testing play a significant role in achieving this goal. Hence, “the project naturally veered in the direction of helping evaluate drivers during their driving test,” they continued. Although automation is slowly making a mark on the world, it will still require the deployment of pole-mounted video cameras or any extensive infrastructure along the test track. 

According to the Microsoft Research team, HAMS has the potential to reduce the cost of automation. At the same time, the technology will also test coverage by “including a view” within the car. Deputy managing director of Microsoft Research India Venkat Padmanabhan concluded that using HAMS will help ease the burden of test evaluators and make the process more transparent and objective.