When 32-year-old Kuldeep, entered the IDTR campus in Haryana’s Bahadurgarh to train in heavy motor vehicles, he was in for a surprise.
”The instructor, sitting with me in the same vehicle, could tell me exactly what I did wrong using only a small device, without even having to look outside. I have been driving for so many years, but I have never got such a good and detailed explanation of how I could improve my driving” says Kuldeep, whose sole income is through driving.
Kuldeep is not the first one to experience this technology. Every month around 2300 drivers at this institute are getting instant feedback on the good, the bad and the ugly of his driving skills.
Classically, driving training, a highly ignored topic in India, has been heavily dependent on the instinct of the instructor. The instructor who usually teaches around 10 trainees on an ongoing basis is expected to teach driving training as well as keep a record of the progress of each learner – manually. While teaching driving, he also has to focus on 7 to 8 different parameters inside the car as well as on road. Not to forget that usually the trainer himself may be untrained and may have picked the skill by trial and error!
Spread over 12 acres, on the outskirts of Haryana, IDTR Bahadurgarh managed by Maruti Suzuki, is changing the way driving training is done in India. The institute, amongst the only few driving training centers to use simulators, recently implemented a technology solution called ARITRA – a ‘Camera based image processing technology’. It became the first institute to use advanced technology for quality driving training.
ARITRA derived from the Sanskrit word that means ‘to navigate’, uses 27 cameras set atop overhead towers on the extensive track IDTR campus.
The IDTR campus is fully wi-fi enabled for these cameras to operate. These cameras are like the instructor’s eyes and monitor the performance of the learner. The training is recorded live and transmitted to a central control room from where it is seamlessly transmitted to the instructor’s tablet in the vehicle.
Thus, with the help of geo-mapping and image sensing technology learners at IDTR Bahadurgarh are getting an accurate progress of their performance on some of the important tracks. These include the formation of eight, parallel parking and R formation. Instructors can assess the students objectively without any bias and can keep a record of the trainee’s performance on a regular basis.
Speaking to The Better India, Mr Mahesh Rajoria, Senior Advisor – Driving Training, Maruti Suzuki who overlooked the development and implementation of ARITRA says, “The ARITRA technology has been developed based on our experience of teaching driving for over two decades. This app-based technology, empowers trainers to make specific assessment of a learner’s driving skills thus make driving training more scientific and accurate.”
ARITRA allows instructors to assess the trainees on eight different parameters, benchmarked to a predefined ideal path. At the end of completing the formations, the software generates a complete report of the trainee’s performance. The day-wise progress charts from ARITRA, offer clear insights on what percentage compliance has been achieved while mapping the trainee’s path and see how it measures against an accomplished expert driver.
The unique and convenient part is that the trainee does not have to come back to the control room to look at the recordings. All the recorded videos go back to the tab again via the server helping the instructor to give instant feedback to the trainee sitting in the vehicle itself.
“Using this technology both the instructor and trainee can look at multiple angles to discuss the practical sessions in detail. The idea is to foster a discussion, learn and avoid making repeat mistakes” says Mr Rajoria.
It also creates a summary and statistical graph of the performance including number of trials, duration taken, distance covered and mistakes made on individual tracks. Through this the instructor now gives feedback that is precise and unbiased.
While any innovation is generally within reach of the richest and powerful, IDTR Bahadurgarh is training some of the lesser economically privileged, who cannot afford such invention. Many of these are uninsured truck drivers, whose jobs are their livelihood and the future of their families.
Also, the use of ARITRA-like technologies is making driving training robust. Quality driving training using such technologies at all training schools is the need of the hour to create safer drivers.
IDTR Bahadurgarh is maintained and run by Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. For the larger benefit of the society, Maruti Suzuki has now introduced this technology at AGIDTTR Vadodra and IDTR Loni, both managed by Maruti Suzuki.