Many motorists are still critical of how priviledge to drive is attained in the Philippines. During many steps in the process, there is a human element to it that allows unscrupulous individuals to find creative ways around the tests and requirements.
One such example is motorcycle rider training. Some argue that the lax screening process and questionable practices where one could simply pay their way to get a driver’s license has resulted in many drivers, as well as motorcycle riders, unfairly getting the privilege to drive. Worse, some are not at all fit to be behind the wheel or handlebar and may cause accidents on the road, hence, the need for stricter assessment.
On the other hand, some say that the new requirement of undergoing the now-mandatory Theoretical and Practical Driving Courses (TDC and PDC) are anti-poor since accredited driving schools charge almost a month’s worth of the average Juan dela Cruz’s salary just to receive the required certification.
In our ASEAN neighbor, Singapore, the human element has been removed and an artificial intelligence (AI) is what determines if you pass or fail.
In Singapore, the government requires would-be riders to undergo motorcycle class-specific training before being given the privilege to ride. They’ve been doing this for a very long time already.
While the assessment involves the watchful eyes of their traffic police to screen would-be motorcycle riders, starting next year, they will be replaced with artificial intelligence (AI). The system is called Intelligent Driving Circuit (IDC).
In IDC, motorcycles inside the driving course will be fitted with sensors and cameras. From there, the data will be analyzed by computers to see if the rider is fit and is skilled enough to ride a motorcycle.
An example of Singapore's Class 2 motorcycle assessment
For example, if the rider fails to stop the motorcycle at a specified distance while running at 30 kilometers per hour, the system will automatically fail the rider. The system will also look, among other things, if the rider is firmly holding the handlebar, is gripping the tank with his or her knees, all while looking straight ahead.
The system will also look for rider errors such as holding the clutch before applying the brakes, failing to use the engine brake; applying insufficient brake force and putting the feet down before the motorcycle completely stops.
The final practical test that is assessed on Singapore’s busy streets, however, will still be done with human assessors as there are “practical challenges in replacing the human tester for the on-road component”.
The system trials will begin early next year and is envisioned to be fully operational by 2023. It will be required on selected Class 2, 2A (up to 400cc), and 2B (up to 200cc) motorcycles.