MHA calls tender for trial of fully automated motorcycle riding test circuit

According to the tender documents, the trial is to be conducted on selected Class 2, 2A and 2B motorcycles. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Learner motorcyclists could in a few years' time be assessed for a road licence without the presence of a human tester, if a trial here proceeds smoothly.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has called a tender for a trial of a fully automated circuit that will use technology to test motorcycle riders.

The Intelligent Driving Circuit (IDC) will eventually replace the current testing method, which involves a human assessor.

In response to queries, the police said there are currently no plans for such a trial for cars.

"The traffic police will assess the outcome of the trial for motorcycles before deciding whether to embark on a trial for motor cars," said a police spokesman.

The automated system will only be used in the driving circuit component ofthe 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 spokesman added.

According to the tender documents on government procurement portal GeBiz, the trial is to be conducted on selected Class 2, 2A and 2B motorcycles, which are to be fitted with analytical equipment such as sensors and cameras.

The tenderer is expected to supply two motorcycle units for each class and set up automated testing systems at the motorcycle course stations within the test circuit at the Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDC) in Woodlands Industrial Park.

The tender documents set out the riding errors that the automated testing system must be able to detect at the emergency stop station in a proof-of-concept test.

These include failing to attain a minimum speed of 30kmh for Class 2B motorcycles and 40kmh for Class 2 and 2A motorcycles before executing the emergency stop, failing to look straight ahead and hold the handlebar firmly with both hands, and failing to grip the fuel tank with both knees.

The system must also be able to detect if a rider puts his feet down before bringing the motorcycle to a complete stop, if he supports the motorcycle with his right foot instead of his left after stopping, or if he stops in a staggering manner.

Applying insufficient braking force, applying the clutch before braking, applying the brakes early, failing to close the throttle to make use of the engine brake and failing to apply the front and rear brakes together are also among the listed errors.

Other errors that will cause a rider to fail the test immediately include taking more than the required distances to stop the motorcycle on a wet surface, falling off the motorcycle and causing the motorcycle to lean over by more than 45 degrees.

The tenderer must show that the system can achieve at least 80 per cent accuracy in detecting and highlighting these errors before the design is considered for further evaluation.

The system must be able to achieve 100 per cent accuracy in detecting errors before it is eventually implemented in full.

It will also be required to show how demerit points are awarded and why, as well as calculate the total demerit points awarded at the end of the test to determine whether the testee had met the minimum requirements before proceeding to the next test.

The trial could take up to a year and a half, according to the tender documents. The tenderer will be required to provide warranty and maintenance of the system for up to 18 months after installation.

When the IDC was first announced by Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam in 2017, the minister said the trial would take place in 2021 and that the plan was to achieve full implementation by 2023.

He said then that using technology to conduct driving lessons and tests will enhance the effectiveness of lessons, increase productivity and allow lessons to be taken outside of the current operating hours to better suit learners' schedules.

The police said the trial has been delayed and is expected to take place from March 2022 to March 2023. The timeline for full implementation of the IDC is being reviewed and it will depend on the findings of the trial.

A training manager at SSDC declined to comment when approached.

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