Internet of Things technologies are spurring new types of instructional games, namely reality-enhanced serious games (RESGs), that support training directly in the field. This paper investigates a key feature of RESGs, i.e., user performance evaluation using real data, and studies an application of RESGs for promoting fuel-efficient driving, using fuel consumption as an indicator of driver performance. In particular, we propose a reference model for supporting a novel smart sensing dataflow involving the combination of two modules, based on machine learning, to be employed in RESGs in parallel and in real-time. The first module concerns quantitative performance assessment, while the second one targets verbal recommendation. For the assessment module, we compared the performance of three well-established machine learning algorithms: support vector regression, random forest and artificial neural networks. The experiments show that random forest achieves a slightly better performance assessment correlation than the others but requires a higher inference time. The instant recommendation module, implemented using fuzzy logic, triggers advice when inefficient driving patterns are detected. The dataflow has been tested with data from the enviroCar public dataset, exploiting on board diagnostic II (OBD II) standard vehicular interface information. The data covers various driving environments and vehicle models, which makes the system robust for real-world conditions. The results show the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed approach, attaining a high estimation correlation (R2 = 0.99, with random forest) and punctual verbal feedback to the driver. An important word of caution concerns users' privacy, as the modules rely on sensitive personal data, and provide information that by no means should be misused.
Keywords: Internet of Things (IoT); eco-driving; fuel consumption; machine learning (ML); on-board diagnostic-II (OBD-II); reality-enhanced serious games (RESGs); serious game (SG).