STA to conduct audits of VLTD testing software

Date: September 14, 2023. — The Odisha state transport authority (STA) has chosen to independently audit a program meant to evaluate the vehicle location tracking devices (VLTDs) required for all public and commercial vehicles. The STA has tasked the National Informatics Centre (NIC), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), and the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) with conducting the audits and submitting their reports by the end of September.

The software, developed by a private business called VahanSuraksha tests the functioning and performance of VLTDs placed in the vehicles. Furthermore, the program determines whether the VLTDs meet the AIS-140 standard. This defines the requirements for vehicle location tracking, emergency response, and data transmission. Following the testing, the software generates a certificate of compliance for the VLTDs.

The Smart Mobility Association made allegations that prompted the launch of the investigation. It is a confederation of some of the country’s VLTD manufacturers and claimed that there were irregularities in the selection of VLTD vendors in Odisha. Moreover, According to the Smart Mobility Association, a small group of vendors paid bribes to some STA personnel. The association petitioned the transport secretary, transport commissioner, and vigilance directorate to prosecute the corrupt officials.

The STA took this action after receiving complaints from some vehicle owners and operators. The complaints were about the software malfunctioning and producing incorrect results. Some stated that their VLTDs were rejected by the software despite being ARAI-certified. Others claimed that the program approved their VLTDs but that these did not function on the road.

The STA has requested that NIC, BSNL, and ARAI assess the program in terms of technical requirements, security features, data accuracy, and reliability. The STA has also directed VahanSuraksha to work with the auditors. They should provide them with all relevant information and software access.

The STA has stated that based on the audit reports. It will take appropriate action to ensure that the VLTD testing process is fair and transparent. The STA has also urged vehicle owners and operators to cooperate with the authority. They should adhere to VLTD standards for their own safety and security.

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