In a bid to streamline and expedite driving tests that are conducted in the UAE, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has rolled out the “Smart Yard” initiative. This innovative project completely automates certain aspects of the driving test, namely the yard test, by making use of Smart Vehicles and an array of cameras and sensors to increase the accuracy of the tests. According to the RTA, the Smart Yard system will also help eradicate any personal bias that might apply in a human-intervened environment.

The Smart Yard project has already been applied at 15 different testing yards across Dubai, and so far, has processed over 108,000 applications. By using Smart Vehicles which work alongside a host of other technologies that are spread all over the yard, the innovative system is capable of processing results of the examinees without any errors. Khaled Alsalehi, Director of Drivers Training and Qualification Department in RTA’s Licensing Agency, said, “The project aims to hit multiple targets highlighted by bringing more transparency and reducing the error margin in taking the Pass or Fail decision in respect of the examinee without human intervention, thanks to the mart system in use. The process steps up the efficiency of the testing process through the automated and coherent operation of several smart vehicles. It also improves safety, thanks to the use of technology to avoid accidents.”

RTA Parking Test

RTA’s “Smart Yard” Initiative Replaces The Human Element In The Car With Technology To Grade The Examinee.

Khaled Alsalehi, Director of Drivers Training and Qualification Department in RTA’s Licensing Agency said, “The project aims to hit multiple targets highlighted by bringing more transparency and reducing the error margin in taking the Pass or Fail decision in respect of the examinee without human intervention, thanks to the mart system in use. The process steps up the efficiency of the testing process through the automated and coherent operation of several smart vehicles. It also improves safety, thanks to the use of technology to avoid accidents.”

In order to obtain a UAE driver’s license, candidates must successfully pass three separate tests, including the theoretical knowledge test, yard test and finally, the road test. Among these, the yard test usually encompasses five different steps that a candidate must clear in order to proceed to the final road test. These steps have been specifically designed to test a driver’s ability to carefully and successfully execute necessary driving skills such as parallel parking, side parking at a 60-degree angle, parking in a standard garage, parking on a simulated hill, and sudden braking to check the candidate’s situational awareness and avoidance of obstacles.

The Smart Yard functions by using five surveillance cameras – four placed outside the Smart Vehicle and one that is mounted inside. The four externally located cameras help guide the examinee to each of the five manoeuvres, while the internal camera is purely used to verify and authenticate the identity of the driver who is undertaking the test. Furthermore, in order to avoid any collision with obstacles while performing the tests, RTA has also installed the Smart Vehicles with more than 20 sensors.

Dubai RTA Announces Fully Automated Parking Tests

The Smart Yard functions by using five surveillance cameras - four placed outside the Smart Vehicle and one that is mounted inside.

Meanwhile, test images that are captured using the external cameras are sent, among other relevant data including the use of the vehicle’s brakes and safety belt, to a trained RTA personal located in a monitoring tower nearby. The monitoring authority can study all the relayed information from the Smart Vehicle on an interactive screen.  While the Smart Yard’s tower controller checks the data on his/her interactive display, the Smart Vehicle uses that time to analyse the bank of information and video clips taken during the examinee’s test run. The system makes use of a high-speed processor to quickly and efficiently assess the driver’s performance, and without any human intervention, delivers the ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’ result.

Adding more on RTA’s new initiative, Alsalehi mentioned that the Smart Yard project has helped the authority to address one of their most common complaints from candidates that partake in the tests. He said, “Some examinees claiming that results of their tests were sometimes impacted by different perceptions of examiners about mistakes deemed worthy of re-testing. The technology in place now eliminates this issue as it takes impartial decisions that cannot be challenged.”