During Appl.AI webinar #2 ‘How safe are self-driving cars?’ we received many viewer questions. Below are our answers to the most common topics.

The webinar consisted of a panel discussion with autonomous driving expert Edwin Nas, RDW (left) and AI expert Jan-Pieter Paardekooper, TNO (right).

Rewatch the webinar here

Appl.AI Webinar #2: ‘How safe are self-driving cars?’

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1. What impact will the development of independent cars have?

The importance of developing self-driving vehicles lies in many different areas. The most important is increasing road safety (fewer accidents and casualties).

2. What impact can we expect self-driving cars to have on the traffic jam problem?

The effect on traffic jams is still uncertain. The self-driving aspect may even have an influence on the experience of traffic jams. If you know that there is a 20 minute traffic jam every day, then you can prepare for that. An unexpected traffic jam is experienced as annoying. But if you can spend the time in the vehicle differently (eg. reading or eating) then a traffic jam does not have to be experienced negatively.

3. We often start from the idea that everyone will have their own self-driving car. In the future, could the focus shift to usage rather than ownership of the car?

Indeed, we are seeing more and more initiatives to use vehicles instead of owning them. Target groups will continue to exist for both forms. So we expect a development for both forms to continue.

4. How do you expect to deal with the social side of things? Eg: A ball is rolling across the street, does the car anticipate a running child running after the ball?

Anticipation is an essential part of smart software. We want to see vehicles that can handle red bike lanes, block marking, matrix signs, rush-hour lanes, turbo roundabouts and so on. However, differences may arise for vehicles in the EU, US or China. Hence, ethical issues were also discussed in the webinar. There may be quite a few other design or privacy principles and that also indicates why it is important that governments and vehicle authorities such as RDW are now also looking at them.

5. Suppose AI can reduce the number of road deaths by 50% compared to the situation with human drivers. When is it ethical?

This depends on who you ask. In general, you would say that when lives can be saved, you should always do so. In the event of an accident, however, social acceptance is lower when it is caused by a machine (AI) compared to a human. It is precisely for this reason that a social discussion is desirable. The EU report on ethics and self-driving vehicles is therefore a very good starting point for that discussion.

6. Who determines the moral compass? Is that the government? The producer himself?

Ultimately, policymakers will determine in laws and regulations what the requirements for self-driving cars are and how they should behave towards other road users. The EU report "Ethics in Connected and Automated Vehicles" does recommend that all social groups should be involved in these decisions.

7. Who is responsible for the safety of the self-driving car?

This is being actively discussed. It is important that there are different forms of responsibility. For example, manufacturers will be responsible for the technology they develop. Policy makers are responsible for setting standards for the safe testing of vehicles on public roads.

8. If the car cannot manage itself, can the control be taken over remotely via a 5G connection?

Remote control of a vehicle is indeed an option that companies are working on. For the time being, the technology is only used to replace the driver, that is to say that there is someone who continuously monitors whether the vehicle behaves correctly. It is not the case that only when the car gives a signal, someone starts watching, because that takes far too long in the case of safety-critical situations.

9. Can you use paid friendly hackers to help you?

Cyber security starts with designing the system as safely as possible. To detect vulnerabilities it could indeed be useful to use friendly hackers.

Rewatch the webinar here

Appl.AI Webinar #2:‘How safe are self-driving cars?’

Watch webinar
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