Robot-Assisted Minimally Invasive Surgery (RAMIS) has reshaped the standard clinical practice during the past two decades. Many believe that the next big step in the advancement of RAMIS will be partial autonomy, which may reduce the fatigue and the cognitive load on the surgeon by performing the monotonous, time-consuming subtasks of the surgical procedure autonomously. Although serious research efforts are paid to this area worldwide, standard evaluation methods, metrics, or benchmarking techniques are still not formed. This article aims to fill the void in the research domain of surgical subtask automation by proposing standard methodologies for performance evaluation. For that purpose, a novel characterization model is presented for surgical automation. The current metrics for performance evaluation and comparison are overviewed and analyzed, and a workflow model is presented that can help researchers to identify and apply their choice of metrics. Existing systems and setups that serve or could serve as benchmarks are also introduced and the need for standard benchmarks in the field is articulated. Finally, the matter of Human–Machine Interface (HMI) quality, robustness, and the related legal and ethical issues are presented.
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