Browse Standards AVSC00001201911
Current 2019-11-08

AVSC Best Practice for In-Vehicle Fallback Test Driver Selection, Training, and Oversight Procedures for Automated Vehicles Under Test AVSC00001201911


Best Practice for in-vehicle fallback test driver (safety operator) selection, training, and oversight procedures for automated vehicles under test (AVSC000012019MM) addresses the qualifications and training for on-board human oversight of testing for automated driving system (ADS)-operated vehicles. It provides an outline with criteria commonly agreed to by members of the AVSC, which includes:

  1. Driver selection
  2. Basic Driver training
  3. ADS-operation training
  4. Initial driving on public roads
  5. Periodic re-evaluation and training

The Best Practice applies to humans within the vehicle responsible for the safe oversight of development and testing SAE Level 4 and Level 5 automated driving systems on public roads.

In-Vehicle Fallback Test Driver (IFTD) Characteristics and Framework

Several factors are considered, including driver selection, driver training, ADS training, best practices for initial ADS driving on public roads, and periodic IFTD evaluations, re-evaluation and training of driving skills.

Driver Selection and Verification

IFTD driver selection criteria are explored, include driving experience, record checks, driving evaluation, mindset, and criminal background checks.


The AVSC recommends a progressive framework for IFTD basic driver training – building skills over time while introducing increasing levels of complexity.

  • Controlled environment training
  • Interaction training
  • Evaluation / assessment of skills

IFTD training on ADS systems are addressed at length. Topics for classroom training are addressed awareness of ADS sensor technologies, system behaviors, trust calibration the human-machine interface and effective communication among IFTDs.

Recommendations for closed-course IFTD training are introduced, including scenario-based exercises, fault-injection training, and testing of IFTD general awareness and attention. The best practice follows closed course training with recommendations for supervised ADS driving on public roads and considerations of IFTD evaluation and on-going training. Best practices for evaluation include:

  • Monitoring
  • Evaluation / assessment of skills
  • On-going training
  • Remedial training
  • Refresher training

The AVSC sets forth best practices for ADS-operated vehicle on-road testing protocols. These basic guidelines for incident response protocols, pre-trip, in-trip, and post-trip protocols. The best practice emphasizes minimizing distraction and communicating known ADS changes and limitations, including software and hardware, to ensure safe operation during testing.


The IFTD’s sole responsibility in an ADS-operated vehicle is ensuring its safe operation. Companies engaged in ADS-operated vehicle testing on public roads should follow a rigorous process to attract and train individuals with a technology focus and safety mindset. Thinking through and thoroughly documenting processes that reinforce a culture of safety and continuous improvement should be the cornerstones of any on-road testing program. Adhering to best practices like those outlined in this document can reduce risk and engender public trust in automated driving systems and the companies that develop and deploy them.

About the AVSC

The Automated Vehicle Safety ConsortiumTM (AVSC) is an industry program of SAE Industry Technologies Consortia (SAE ITC®) building on principles that will inform and help lead to industrywide standards for advancing automated driving systems. The members of this consortium have long been focused on the development of safe, reliable and high-quality vehicles, and are committed to applying these same principles to Level 4 and Level 5 automated vehicles so communities, government entities and the public can be confident that these vehicles will be deployed safely.



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