Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Virtual Driving Skills Assessment

In partnership with CHOP spin-out company Diagnostic Driving Inc., CIRP researchers have built and validated a virtual driving skills assessment, Ready-Assess™, as a screen before an on-road driver license test. The self-guided software takes drivers through a simulated drive that automatically assesses a driver's ability to drive safely and avoid collisions.

Simulation software allows for safe and reproducible exposure to the most common serious crash scenarios and real-time measurement of performance. The first application of this software in Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles' licensing centers demonstrated its ability to predict on-road licensure performance, as well as its practical implementation in state licensing center workflows.

Diagnostic Driving’s Ready-Assess™ is grounded in over a decade of young driver research which culminated in the development and validation of CIRP’s Simulated Driving Assessment which runs on CIRP’s high fidelity fixed-based simulator. Ready-Assess™ is the next generation of this assessment, making it available for broad deployment in non-research settings without the need for an expensive, large simulator.

Ohio Portable Driving Simulator Systems Study

Currently, CIRP researchers continue to partner with Diagnostic Driving Inc. and the Ohio Department of Public Safety to pilot and fully implement Ready-Assess™ as the Ohio Portable Driving Simulator System (PDSS) in Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles' licensing centers.

Ohio PDSS uses Diagnostic Driving’s Ready-Assess™ software, which is implemented on standard desktop PCs using an inexpensive USB-steering wheel and pedals and placed in kiosks (or cubicles). Ohio plans to use the PDSS as a pre-qualifier to taking the on road exam. When fully implemented, those driver licensing applicants that fail the virtual driving test will need to reschedule their on-road exam for a later date and after logging more practice drives.

In Year One, Diagnostic Driving and CIRP researchers worked closely with subject matter experts in the Ohio Department of Public Safety-- primarily driving examiners-- to contextualize a virtual driving test and optimize it for use in Ohio's licensing workflow. Ohio administers about 600,000 road tests per year.

Subject-matter-expert input ensured that the PDSS test realistically represents Ohio driving and requires minimal time and staff input, relying instead on self-guided workflows. This was essential to minimize the disruption to busy licensing center workflows. Within nine months, PDSS was up and running in three licensing centers, collecting data on approximately 1,200 virtual driving tests per month.

In the self-guided workflow, each applicant spends 15 minutes with an orientation, an acclimation drive, anda a randomized virtual driving test,  receiving automated feedback on their driving. 

For the pilot study, driver licensing applicants can take their on-road exam regardless of their PDSS performance. Our preliminary results indicate that Ready-Assess™, as used in the PDSS, can predict road test failure rates.

In Years 2 and 3, the Ohio PDSS project intends to roll out its kiosks to every licensing center in the state. During this time, Diagnostic Driving Inc. and CIRP researchers will analyze de-identified data collected during everyday use of the kiosks to evaluate PDSS performance and the impact of PDSS on licensing center workflow processes. During this roll-out, CIRP and Diagnostic Driving Inc. will continue to optimize the scoring algorithm in its ability to accurately predict on-road test failure.

Read more about Diagnostic Driving, Inc. and its software-as-a-service product, Ready-Assess™.