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"Ethics of Autonomous Vehicles": research and ethical challenges

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Veröffentlicht am Montag, den 04. Februar 2019

The five-day workshop on "Ethics of Autonomous Vehicles" took place from 21 to 25 January 2019 at the University of Luxembourg. The two guest researchers Antonio Bikić and Adriano Mannino (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich) did impressively show, which research questions we will be confronted in the future with regard to autonomous vehicles and their ethical challenges.

In total, more than twenty PhD students from different fields (Computer Science, Engineering, Law, Humanities and Philosophy) participated in the Winter School, which was organised by Christoph Schommer, Associate Professor in Artificial Intelligence, CSC (Computer Science and Communications Research Unit), ILIAS Lab.

After an introduction to the workshop topic and the presentation of the resulting focal points of the current ethical debates on autonomous driving, a large number of dilemma situations and various solutions (including the consideration of game theory) were discussed. Against this background, the question arose as to what difference it makes to assign either a value or a dignity to a person in a particular dilemma situation. The precautionary principle of the state was also addressed, as no "technological imperative" can put vehicles on the road without fundamental ethical standards. But this is precisely the point of "philosophy with time limits", because ethical problems must soon be solved.

The second part of the seminar was devoted to the responsibility for damage caused by autonomous vehicles. Are car manufacturers solely responsible for this? Are the passengers to blame? These questions were pursued at one level in connection with the issue of the legal subject.

The question arose as to whether it makes sense to speak of an "electronic person" analogous to a "legal person". The answers to these questions were given during the workshop in close coordination with the state of the art. This was possible because the seminar consisted of an interdisciplinary audience. Such an interdisciplinary approach is certainly necessary in order to continue working towards sustainable legislation on autonomous driving.

During the five-day workshop, 14 participants prepared slides and gave a 20-minute presentation on a specific assigned topic on autonomous vehicles.

The Winter School will also take place this year at the Technical Universities of Munich and Berlin. Fortunately, the speakers have already confirmed to repeat the Winter School at the University of Luxembourg next year. Further information will follow shortly.


  • Antonio Bikić: Ludwig Maximilian University Munich and visiting researcher at ETH Zurich.
  • Adriano Mannino: Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich and co-founder of DataCareer GmbH.
  • Christoph Schommer, University of Luxembourg, CSC-ILIAS Lab.