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Algorithmic decision-making in AVs: Understanding ethical and technical concerns for smart cities

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) are increasingly embraced around the world to advance smart mobility and more broadly, smart, and sustainable cities. Algorithms form the basis of decision-making in AVs, allowing them to perform driving tasks autonomously, efficiently, and more safely than human drivers and offering various economic, social, and environmental benefits. However, algorithmic decision-making in AVs can also introduce new issues that create new safety risks and perpetuate discrimination. We identify bias, ethics, and perverse incentives as key ethical issues in the AV algorithms' decision-making that can create new safety risks and discriminatory outcomes. Technical issues in the AVs' perception, decision-making and control algorithms, limitations of existing AV testing and verification methods, and cybersecurity vulnerabilities can also undermine the performance of the AV system. This article investigates the ethical and technical concerns surrounding algorithmic decision-making in AVs by exploring how driving decisions can perpetuate discrimination and create new safety risks for the public. We discuss steps taken to address these issues, highlight the existing research gaps and the need to mitigate these issues through the design of AV's algorithms and of policies and regulations to fully realise AVs' benefits for smart and sustainable cities.


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The European Perspective on Responsible Computing

Communications of the ACM

We live in the digital world, where every day we interact with digital systems either through a mobile device or from inside a car. These systems are increasingly autonomous in making decisions over and above their users or on behalf of them. As a consequence, ethical issues--privacy ones included (for example, unauthorized disclosure and mining of personal data, access to restricted resources)--are emerging as matters of utmost concern since they affect the moral rights of each human being and have an impact on the social, economic, and political spheres. Europe is at the forefront of the regulation and reflections on these issues through its institutional bodies. Privacy with respect to the processing of personal data is recognized as part of the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals.