The members of the ANDRE research project have recently published a paper proposing an ethical framework facilitating the implementation of ethical motion planning into autonomous vehicles (AVs). Moreover, the authors clarify one of the most pressing ethical concerns around the deployment of AVs, the trolley problem.

In the paper they present the state of the art research on autonomous vehicles whilst identifying the need to investigate in all situations on public roads as opposed to only focusing on moral dilemmas and crash optimization. Moreover, they argue for adopting the theoretical lens of “ethics of risk” when researching on AVs. In this paper, a new framework for trajectory planning is proposed, in order to analyze the uncertainties and assess the risks. Within such framework, the authors transform ethical principles into mathematical equations in order to achieve an ethical trajectory. The paper presents a risk cost function, which can be applied for trajectory planning with the aim to minimize the overall risk and prioritize the equal treatment of people. In conclusion, the authors provide a connection between their proposed framework and the trolley problem.

This research is significant for the ANDRE project as it promotes the translation of ethical principles into applicable, technical solutions that can facilitate the integration of ethical behavior into motion planning in AVs.

To find out more, you can read the paper here