A Harare Institute of Technology student Christine Juta broke the gender jinx and earned herself a spot in the National Engineering Student Awards Competition.
An iron lady she is, the vivacious and eloquent Juta won the oral presentation at the preliminary round of the NESAC competition held at HIT on Wednesday for her project dubbed ‘Development of Test Rig for Automated Driving Test track’.
Interestingly, Juta has this wild creativity and vivid interpretation of current events in almost every sector of society. It is through her creativity and knowledge of whats happening in the country that she developed this system despite her not having knowledge of how to drive let alone owing a car nor a drivers licence.
According to Juta, who developed a passion for physics and engineering at A Level, her project was inspired by “…the rife allegations of corruption at the Vehicle Inspection Department.”
Like an economist she feels that with the negative publicity these allegations attract are costing the nation 1, 2 percent of its Gross Domestic Product annually.
“It also has implications on the economy, Road traffic accidents cost alone about 1, 2 percent of our GDP,” she says.
Most road accidents are caused by negligent driving by drivers who bogusly attain drivers licence. With Juta’s system, this corruption which sees these bogus drivers get licensed will be reduced.
Juta’s system, she explains, is not only clear but precise.
“So basically what I designed was a system that uses light dependent resistors and laser diodes which produces monochromatic light it is coherent and accurate. It would then be superimposed on the road markings and be used to indicate where a driver has obstructed a laser beam and determine whether a learner driver is actually driving correctly,” she said.
The system’s goal is to reduce role of the human instructor in influencing the result of a driving test.
“So what we are doing is we are minimising the human determination of a test result and we are also eliminating the manual keying of data because there are instances where one can enter and write something on a piece of paper but a certain person has undertaken a driver’s license and passed when the test in question didn’t even occur,”said Juta.
She further elaborated that with this system the haphazard awarding of drivers licence.
“So if the data is being fed into the system, via the sensors then you cannot have instances where tests which did not occur result in issuing of a licence,” Juta said.
Up to speed with the current discussions in Parliament about the commercialisation of the Vehicle Inspection Department, Juta recommends to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development that they should computerise first.
“So basically this is a discussion which has been tabled in parliament. Transport and Infrastructure development minister Dr Joram Gumbo was actually talking about commercialising the VID . This can only be achieved if they automate their automation drive initiative.
“And I hope that this project will be implemented and aimed towards the implementation of the VID, CVR, Zinara and better optimisation of our system,” she advised.
About her feat of being the only female to represent the institution Juta said,