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ITU recommends a driving test for drivers in control of automated vehicles


A new ITU Focus Group on ‘AI for autonomous and assisted driving’ is working on establishing international standards to monitor and assess the performance of the AI ‘Drivers’ in charge of automated vehicles.

“Should there be an equivalent of a Turing Test for AI on our roads? Absolutely,” said the Focus Group’s Chairman, Bryn Balcombe, Autonomous Drivers Alliance (ADA). “Especially when all drivers, human or AI, need a shared understanding to predict both behaviours and risks.”

The original Turing Test is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. The proposed Turing Test for the road could become the basis for an International Driving Permit for AI. The right hold to this permit would be assessed continuously, based on the AI Driver’s behavioural performance on the road.

Its ultimate aim is to meet the public expectation that AI should never engage in careless, dangerous or reckless driving behaviour; AI remains aware and able to avoid collisions at all times; and AI meets or exceeds the performance of a competent, careful human driver.

Building public trust in automated vehicles will be the prerequisite to their success in reducing the 1.3 million deaths on roads each year. The Focus Group’s primary objective is to validate that the driving behaviour of automated vehicles presents evidence to justify this public trust.

“Connectivity and automation show great promise to improve road safety,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “This Focus Group is a welcome initiative to ensure that assisted and autonomous driving technologies exhibit the behaviour required to fulfil this promise.”

The Focus Group will contribute to ITU’s development of technical standards in support of the UNECE Global Forum for Road Traffic Safety (WP.1) and in accordance with the 1949 and 1968 United Nations Conventions on Road Traffic.

The group is open to all interested parties.

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