Back in 2017, government officials in Singapore announced the idea of creating an Intelligent Driving Circuit (IDC) to assess drivers during both lessons and practical driving tests. At a Singapore Road Safety Council gala dinner, the minister for Home Affairs and Law, K. Shanmugam, said the plan would go into its trial phase in 2021, with the goal of full implementation some time in 2023.
It’s now April, 2021, and the Ministry of Home Affairs plans to do a trial run of this fully automated circuit with motorcycle riders and licensing before moving on to cars and drivers. Currently, as in most other countries, a human assessor tests both riders and drivers for licensing purposes.
“The traffic police will assess the outcome of the trial for motorcycles before deciding whether to embark on a trial for motor cars,” a police spokesperson told the Straits Times.
“The automated system will only be used in the driving circuit component of the test and not during the portion of the final test taken on actual roads as there are practical challenges in replacing the human tester for the on-road component,” the spokesperson continued.
Aspiring motorcycle riders who take this test will use a motorcycle that has been specially designed to interact with the IDC. Both the test bikes and the IDC will use various sensors, cameras, and other equipment to assess a range of riding errors from prospective riders, including:
- Failure to reach a minimum speed of 30 kph (or 18.6 mph) prior to performing an emergency stop, for class 2B motorcycles
- Failure to reach a minimum speed of 40 kph (or 24.8 mph) prior to performing an emergency stop, for class 2 and 2A motorcycles
- Failure to look straight ahead while holding the handlebars with both hands
- Failure to grip the tank with both knees
- Putting your feet down prior to bringing the bike to a complete stop
- Holding the bike up with your right foot instead of your left upon stopping
- Stopping in a staggering manner (no paddling stops)
- Not braking with enough force
- Applying the clutch before braking
- Applying your brakes too early
- Not closing the throttle to make use of engine braking
- Not using both your front and rear brakes together
- Exceeding the allowed distance for stopping a motorcycle on a wet road
- Falling off your bike
- Leaning your bike more than 45 degrees (no elbow dragging, please)
When the system design can meet or exceed 80 percent accuracy at detecting all of these things, only then will further evaluation—perhaps with cars and drivers—be considered. It must also reach 100 percent accuracy before the Ministry of Home Affairs will consider using it as a regular matter of course, instead of in this trial phase.
While the motorcycle test phase was originally scheduled to take place in 2021, a police spokesperson told the Straits Times that the test has now been delayed. The new plan is to run it between March, 2022 and March, 2023. We look forward to seeing how well this system works once the program is underway.