FEBRUARY 6 — The pervasive Malaysian culture of securing a license easily through the Kopi O licence practice and “Guaranteed Pass” package will soon be a thing of the past with the introduction of Automated Driving Test and Training System (e-Testing) which is expected to be implemented in June 2020.
The new system will require the candidates to go all out on passing the test, since if they fail the test, there would be no more "slow talk" (patient advice).
Last year, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said that automated driving test would be introduced to prevent instances of the above culture.
Kopi O licence refers to the practice of offering bribe (coffee money) to pass the driving test after the slow talk with the driving instructor upon failure, while “Guaranteed Pass” package is another corrupt practice of paying a certain amount in order to pass at the first try.
Recently, e-Testing was done successfully during trial runs in four driving institutes in Johor.
With this success, the government is committed to implementing the system, which will increase the number of prudent drivers in Malaysia.
Along with this, the government also intendsto introduce the Student Management System (SMS) to make it easier and systematic for the learner drivers to manage the study and learning of both the theory and practical lessons of the driving test.
e-Testing is a new method of acquiring a driving license through digital means which involves automated driving and theory tests.
The Director General of the Road Transport Department (JPJ), Datuk Seri Shaharuddin Khalid mentioned that the system no longer requires a JPJ officer to sit beside the candidates during the driving test.
Also, the normal circuit will be retained and the test will be monitored from a control room by the related authorities through sensors and cameras installed at the track and in the car.
e-Testing is preferred by the government as it will enhance the department's integrity since the system can accurately evaluate and assess the learner driver’s performance.
The attempt also supports the motto of the department which is “Digitalisation Towards Integrity”.
As for the theory test, the previous system requires the candidates to complete the classes and the computer test, but most candidates will get bored with attending classes.
Thus, the implementation of e-Testing is believed to change the process of learning and teaching since the theory lessons and trial tests are accessible on a modular basis online. The theory test remains online via computer.
The system will also enable the JPJ officers to concentrate on other duties especially on reducing road accidents.
As for candidates, it will reduce the waiting time since the system could automatically secure the dates for the driving tests.
In China, the driving school in Zhenjiang has been utilising Artificial Intelligence(AI) that offers an interactive screen attached to the dashboard to provide the automatic voice navigation as a command to the drivers.
Also, the technology can take control of the car, and students have noticed that the system seems to be more friendly than their human counterparts.
e-Testing utilises advanced technologies such as AI, hence the assessment would be strict and fairer/ more objective compared to the previous method.
Since there would be no second chance for the candidates, this will enhance the driving test rules, driving skills as well as the ethics of driving as the preparation for the real-life situation. Also, this will require the candidates to pass the tests “properly” without any bribery issue.
The new system will definitively eliminate human bias.
According to TechCrunch, five unexpected sources of bias in AI are data-driven bias, bias through interaction, emergent bias, similarity bias and conflicting goals bias which are more objective and easily identifiable.
Nevertheless, the related authorities should take into consideration of these sources of bias before implementing it to ensure that the e-testing is “fool proof” for the candidates.
During the Ops Selamat operation in conjunction with the Chinese New Year season, 13,038 vehicles were involved in 8,570 road crashes, resulting in the death of 56 people.
Hence, e-Testing can be seen as a noble attempt by the government to train future Malaysian drivers to be careful and self-aware in driving, and also making a good judgment as to whether the candidates are adequately qualified to drive.
But the system should undergo several phases of trial testing with a good monitoring process in place by the related authorities. And a detailed clarification on the system should be presented to the candidates before it is fully implemented.
The relevant authorities should also monitor and look into the road condition since this is one of the major causes of road accidents.
In conclusion, e-Testing is hoped to bring more positive results for the country, particularly in terms of driving skills and prevention of accidents. Moreover, it is also an indication that the government is committed to walk the talk when it comes to the application of frontier technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
* Farhan Kamarulzaman is a Research Assistant at EMIR Research, an independent think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research.
**This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.