The ethics commission of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure of Germany has written a report on automated and connected driving, which can be found here . The extract is 10 pages, and actual content starts from page 5 so give it a read. 🙂
Abbreviated, the core rules with my choice of extraction and with some comments:
- Improve safety for all road users.
- “The protection of individuals takes precedence over all other utilitarian considerations”.
- “The public sector is responsible for guaranteeing the safety of the automated and connected systems” & ” The guiding principle is the avoidance of accidents”
“The purpose of all governmental and political regulatory decisions is thus to promote the free development and the protection of individuals”
- “Automated and connected technology should prevent accidents wherever this is practically possible” (prevention!) and also a note here about “starting with
the design and programming of the vehicles such that they drive in a defensive and anticipatory manner, posing as little risk as possible to vulnerable road users” – so like they teach in driving schools plan ahead and drive safely…
- “automated collision prevention, may be socially and ethically mandated if it can unlock existing potential for damage limitation.” – I interpret this to mean that this promotes developing techniques forwards in order to find even better ways for safety.
- “if — despite all technological precautions being taken, the protection of human life enjoys top priority in a balancing of legally protected interests”. I would say this corresponds to Asimov’s 1st robotic law.
- The moral decisions part, actually quite cleverly stated. “–They can thus not be clearly standardized, nor can they be programmed such that they are ethically unquestionable. Technological systems must be designed to avoid accidents.” I’d imagine this eases the burden from the system engineers, even a bit.
- “In the event of unavoidable accident situations, any distinction based on personal features (age, gender, physical or mental constitution) is strictly prohibited. —
Those parties involved in the generation of mobility risks must not sacrifice non-involved parties” . Sound, and the latter part on one hand is fair as the persons within the car have the car as their protective shield, which gives them some advantage.
Product responsibility! “the accountability that was previously the sole preserve of the individual shifts from the motorist to the manufacturers and operators of the technological systems and to the bodies responsible for taking infrastructure, policy and legal decisions.” Also logical, as the driving decisions are done by the vehicle, the accountability goes upstream too.
Product liability — “manufacturers or operators are obliged to continuously optimize their systems and also to observe systems they have already delivered and to improve them”
- “The public is entitled to be informed about new technologies and their deployment”
- “The complete connectivity and central control of all motor vehicles within the con-
text of a digital transport infrastructure is ethically questionable if, and to the extent that, it is unable to safely rule out the total surveillance of road users and manipulation of vehicle control”
- Security aspect here, too: “– manipulation of the IT system or innate system weaknesses, do not result in suchharm as to lastingly shatter people’s confidence in road transport”
- Data privacy: “It is the vehicle keepers and vehicle users who decide whether their vehicle data that are generated are to be forwarded and used”
- Hybrid situation case – who is in control, probably requires logging etc. ”
at any time it is clearly regulated and apparent on which side the individual responsibilities lie, especially the responsibility for control”
- If car goes haywire, override possibilities: “abrupt handover of control to the driver (“emergency”) is virtually obviated”
- Learning in control. “Self-learning systems must not be deployed unless they meet the safety requirements regarding functions relevant to vehicle control and do not undermine the rules established here”
- “In emergency situations, the vehicle must autonomously, i.e. without human assistance,enter into a “safe condition”.”
- “The proper use of automated systems should form part of people’s general digital education.”
Not bad, not bad at all.
Not totally sure what is the world wide situation, and is there some international rules already in place, but quick search found that in US on 2017, 33 states have legislation towards autonomous vehicles. From there I found also the definition of how “the level of automation” can be determined. Can not remember seeing these in any car sales, but maybe they are coming.
SAE International (SAE) definitions for levels of automation. The SAE definitions divide vehicles into levels based on “who does what, when.”
At SAE Level 0, the human driver does everything;
At SAE Level 1, an automated system on the vehicle can sometimes assist the human driver conduct some parts of the driving task;
At SAE Level 2, an automated system on the vehicle can actually conduct some parts of the driving task, while the human continues to monitor the driving environment and performs the rest of the driving task;
At SAE Level 3, an automated system can both actually conduct some parts of the driving task and monitor the driving environment in some instances , but the human
driver must be ready to take back control when the automated system requests;
At SAE Level 4, an automated system can conduct the driving task and monitor the
driving environment, and the human need not take back control, but the automated
system can operate only in certain environments and under certain conditions; and
At SAE Level 5, the automated system can perform all driving tasks, under all conditions
that a human driver could perform them.
<– the source (pdf) .
These are ‘new’ now but lets see when the vehicle connectivity or teleportation changes the private car ownership to a service model. Could happen fast, if the ecological requirements tighten as it might go. Then only rich could have a car and pay the super insurances, which something as reckless as letting an human being to drive a car could be allowed.