German automaker Audi explores the myths and realities of self-driving vehicles in a study: SocAIty – Autonomous Driving on the Road to Social Acceptance. Nineteen experts from academia, business and politics contributed to the @Audi-produced publication, covering such topics as law, ethics and data.
The study seeks to provide insights on how and when autonomous vehicles will change the world of mobility and “to create transparency and promote positive acceptance of self-driving technology,” according to the carmaker.
The adoption and development of autonomous vehicles will be progressive said the study’s expert contributors. “This isn’t a case of revolution, but rather evolution. Step by step in a direction that’s already becoming clear,” commented Eric Hilgendorf, chair of the Department of Criminal Law/ Justice, Legal Theory, Inf. & Computer Science Law, at the University of Würzburg.
Christoph Lütge, a German philosopher and economist notable for his work on business ethics, acknowledged the industry will need to address issues of liability and risk assessment in using self-driving cars.
Pete Bigelow, senior reporter, Automotive News predicted the industry will see more options in the future. “It will be more fractured than it is today. And obviously there is more variety of modes available that are kind of just coming to the fore.”
The the study examines eight myths about self-driving vehicles, including:
- They will be like normal cars, just without drivers. – Aerodynamics will be key factor in design.
- Self-driving cars are a hacking liability. – Not true.
- They will require fewer parking spaces. – Not true, but they will use spaces more efficiently.
- As a technology, autonomous vehicle will be too expensive for most consumers. – Initial prices will reflect R&D costs, but in the long term, as production increases – prices will fall.
- In extreme cases, autonomous vehicles will make life-and-death decisions. – “It is not the car itself that decides, but the humans who program the vehicle. The vehicle can only reflect what the software specifies.”
A complete copy of SocAIty – Autonomous Driving on the Road to Social Acceptance is available on the Audi website.