Autonomous driving has been the center of discussion recently, with multiple stakeholders involved in the debate. Technical University of Munich (TUM) Researchers have now presented a breakthrough in this regard with the development of an algorithm that distributes the risk of an accident fairly.
The algorithm is considered the first of its kind, as it considers all 20 ethics recommendations of the EU Commission, offering more differentiated decisions than previous algorithms. To ensure its acceptance, the algorithm must be able to effectively manage unpredictable situations and make the necessary decisions in the event of an impending accident.
However, it has been a challenge for developers to ensure that the risk of an accident is fairly distributed without favoring any particular vulnerable road user – such as pedestrians. The ANDRE (AutoNomous DRiving Ethics) project was undertaken by TUM researchers to address this issue, where an ethical algorithm was developed.
For testing, nearly 2,000 scenarios with critical situations were distributed across different road types and regions, including Europe, the USA, and China. The research was published in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence and was conducted in collaboration with the chairs of Automotive Engineering and Business Ethics at the Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence (IEAI) at TUM.
By developing this ethical algorithm, the researchers have addressed a major hurdle in adopting autonomous driving – the ability to distribute risk while managing unpredictable situations fairly. This leads in forwarding the new age autonomous vehicles and take us one step closer to safe, ethically conscious autonomous driving.