Digital Commentary Driving: The new safety technique that can help put automated vehicles on our roads

16 June 2021

New research published by BSI and sponsored by the UK’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) contributes to global conversation on how to assess and ensure the safety of automated vehicles

BSI’s CAV Safety Benchmarking report proposes “Digital Commentary Driving” technique to be used as an objective measure of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV) safety performance.

The new technique involves the continuous collection of data from a CAV on its perceptions, decisions, reactions and feedback whilst driving. It is similar to “commentary driving”, a technique used to train and assess human drivers, in which they are required to verbalize relevant information in the driving scene.

Nick Fleming, Head of Transport and Mobility Standards at BSI, said: “With CAVs needing to be safer than human drivers, Digital Commentary Driving techniques could play an important role in contributing to solving this challenge.

“Digital Commentary Driving would require continuous collection of vehicle data – based on standardized formats – to enable assessment of the vehicle’s perception, decision making and reaction-taking ability against agreed performance metrics and measurements. It could provide assurance that automated vehicles are recognizing and acting upon the critical information for road safety, much like advanced driving training might do.”

Professor Nick Reed, Lead author on the report, said: “Safety is critical for the commercial deployment of connected and automated vehicles. Digital Commentary Driving is a technique by which we can analyse CAV safety performance in a standardized manner, enabling evaluation of the critical perceptions and actions that constitute automated driving behaviour.

"It will be a mark of maturity in the CAV sector when organizations can share data that helps the entire industry to improve the safety of their vehicles. Digital Commentary Driving is a proposed approach that may take us towards that goal, signposting a future standardized template that would enable CAV safety to be assessed in an objective manner, both in the real world and in simulation."

Download the report here.

- ENDS -

Notes to the editor:

CAV Safety Benchmark Report

The report has been developed in consultation with key experts from road safety, regulation and the automotive and technology sectors by considering how we assess the performance of good drivers and the capabilities of good mobile robots. The outcome is a proposed approach that captures the critical information an automated vehicle uses to guide its behaviour whilst respecting the intellectual property of CAV developers in the collected data.