An assessment system for evaluation of driving competencies

Malik, Husnain (2011) An assessment system for evaluation of driving competencies. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Automobiles have deeply impacted the way in which we travel but they have also contributed to many deaths and injury due to crashes. A number of reasons for these crashes have been pointed out by researchers. Inexperience has been identified as a contributing factor to road crashes. Driver’s driving abilities also play a vital role in judging the road environment and reacting in-time to avoid any possible collision. Therefore driver’s perceptual and motor skills remain the key factors impacting on road safety. Our failure to understand what is really important for learners, in terms of competent driving, is one of the many challenges for building better training programs. Driver training is one of the interventions aimed at decreasing the number of crashes that involve young drivers. Currently, there is a need to develop comprehensive driver evaluation system that benefits from the advances in Driver Assistance Systems. A multidisciplinary approach is necessary to explain how driving abilities evolves with on-road driving experience.

To our knowledge, driver assistance systems have never been comprehensively used in a driver training context to assess the safety aspect of driving. The aim and novelty of this thesis is to develop and evaluate an Intelligent Driver Training System (IDTS) as an automated assessment tool that will help drivers and their trainers to comprehensively view complex driving manoeuvres and potentially provide effective feedback by post processing the data recorded during driving. This system is designed to help driver trainers to accurately evaluate driver performance and has the potential to provide valuable feedback to the drivers. Since driving is dependent on fuzzy inputs from the driver (i.e. approximate distance calculation from the other vehicles, approximate assumption of the other vehicle speed), it is necessary that the evaluation system is based on criteria and rules that handles uncertain and fuzzy characteristics of the driving tasks. Therefore, the proposed IDTS utilizes fuzzy set theory for the assessment of driver performance.

The proposed research program focuses on integrating the multi-sensory information acquired from the vehicle, driver and environment to assess driving competencies. After information acquisition, the current research focuses on automated segmentation of the selected manoeuvres from the driving scenario. This leads to the creation of a model that determines a “competency” criterion through the driving performance protocol used by driver trainers (i.e. expert knowledge) to assess drivers. This is achieved by comprehensively evaluating and assessing the data stream acquired from multiple in-vehicle sensors using fuzzy rules and classifying the driving manoeuvres (i.e. overtake, lane change, T-crossing and turn) between low and high competency. The fuzzy rules use parameters such as following distance, gaze depth and scan area, distance with respect to lanes and excessive acceleration or braking during the manoeuvres to assess competency. These rules that identify driving competency were initially designed with the help of expert’s knowledge (i.e. driver trainers). In-order to fine tune these rules and the parameters that define these rules, a driving experiment was conducted to identify the empirical differences between novice and experienced drivers. The results from the driving experiment indicated that significant differences existed between novice and experienced driver, in terms of their gaze pattern and duration, speed, stop time at the T-crossing, lane keeping and the time spent in lanes while performing the selected manoeuvres. These differences were used to refine the fuzzy membership functions and rules that govern the assessments of the driving tasks.

Next, this research focused on providing an integrated visual assessment interface to both driver trainers and their trainees. By providing a rich set of interactive graphical interfaces, displaying information about the driving tasks, Intelligent Driver Training System (IDTS) visualisation module has the potential to give empirical feedback to its users. Lastly, the validation of the IDTS system’s assessment was conducted by comparing IDTS objective assessments, for the driving experiment, with the subjective assessments of the driver trainers for particular manoeuvres. Results show that not only IDTS was able to match the subjective assessments made by driver trainers during the driving experiment but also identified some additional driving manoeuvres performed in low competency that were not identified by the driver trainers due to increased mental workload of trainers when assessing multiple variables that constitute driving. The validation of IDTS emphasized the need for an automated assessment tool that can segment the manoeuvres from the driving scenario, further investigate the variables within that manoeuvre to determine the manoeuvre’s competency and provide integrated visualisation regarding the manoeuvre to its users (i.e. trainers and trainees). Through analysis and validation it was shown that IDTS is a useful assistance tool for driver trainers to empirically assess and potentially provide feedback regarding the manoeuvres undertaken by the drivers.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 40902
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Rakotonirainy, Andry & Maire, Frederic
Keywords: driver training, fuzzy logic, experienced and novice drivers, driver performance
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 22 Mar 2011 06:35
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 20:01

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