Autonomy and Automation: the Case of Connected and Automated Vehicles

In P. Kommers & M. Macedo (eds.), Proceedings of the International Conferences on ICT, Society, and Human Beings 2022; Web Based Communities and Social Media 2022; and E-Health 2022. Lisbon: IADIS Press. pp. 244-248 (2022)
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This short paper offers a preliminary inquiry into the impacts of driving automation on personal autonomy. Personal autonomy is a key ethical value in western culture, and one that buttresses fundamental components of the moral life such as the exercise of responsible behaviour and the full enjoyment of human dignity. Driving automation simultaneously enhances and constrains it in significant ways. Hence, its moral profile with reference to the value of personal autonomy is uncertain. Ethical analysis shows that such uncertainty is due not just to the complexity of the technology, but also to the multifaceted normative profile of personal autonomy, which offers reasons to support both conditional and full driving automation. The paper sheds light on this duplicity, underlines the challenges this poses to the ethics of driving automation, and advocates for further research aimed at providing practitioners with more fine-grained guidelines on such a delicate issue.

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Fabio Fossa
Politecnico di Milano


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