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Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed autonomous driving software which distributes risk on the street in a fair manner.
The algorithm contained in the software is considered to be the first to incorporate the 20 ethics recommendations of the EU Commission expert group, thus making significantly more differentiated decisions than previous algorithms, according to sciencedaily.com. Operation of automated vehicles is to be made significantly safer by assessing the varying degrees of risk to pedestrians and motorists. The code is available to the general public as Open Source software.
The basic ethical parameters on which the software’s risk evaluation is oriented were defined by an expert panel as a written recommendation on behalf of the EU Commission in 2020. The recommendation includes basic principles such as priority for the worst-off and the fair distribution of risk among all road users.
In order to translate these rules into mathematical calculations, the research team classified vehicles and persons moving in street traffic based on the risk they present to others and on the respective willingness to take risks. A truck for example can cause serious damage to other traffic participants, while in many scenarios the truck itself will only experience minor damage. The opposite is the case for a bicycle.
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