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Value Sensitive Design for Automated Vehicles

As automated vehicles move through the world, they continually make decisions about how to interact with the environment and other road users. Engineers have a broad range of choices when designing these interactions but often even small variations in the algorithms can have broad societal impact. For instance, the choice of speed when approaching a crosswalk or overtaking a bicycle has implications for not only the safety of various road users but also the efficiency of the traffic system as a whole. Ideally, the vehicle’s behavior should reflect human values such as safety, legality and mobility. Yet identifying the relevant values and resolving inherent value conflicts in a manner that can be implemented in software remains a challenge. Together with collaborators, we are systematically considering the ethical, legal and social implications of design choices as they are made. Through a modified Value Sensitive Design process, we are engaging stakeholders to identify underlying values and value conflicts, mapping these to engineering specifications in a technical realization and then evaluating the performance to ensure the final design embodies the desired values.
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