Skip links

Governments Grapple With Regulation of AI in Cars

News. Both the US and Germany are openly discussing how to regulate artificial intelligence – and especially in  cars which are speeding ahead with autonomous systems. The Germans are very concrete in their wishes to regulate the autonomous cars, whereas the US is creating test beds for experimentation in collaboration with industry and civil society.

selfdrvingregulationAccording to The New Scientist Germany’s transport minister, Alexander Dobrindt wants three tings:

  1. That a car always opts for property damage over personal injury
  2. That it never distinguishes between humans based on categories such as age or race
  3. And that if a human removes his or her hands from the steering wheel – to check email, say – the car’s manufacturer is liable if there is a collision.

Not all German carmakers agree though. According to Car & Driver, future self-driving Mercedes will be programmed to prioritize the car’s occupants meaning that you will be able to buy a car that actually prioritizes your life over everbody else’s.

“If you know you can save at least one person, at least save that one. Save the one in the car,” said Christoph von Hugo, Mercede’s manager of driver assistance systems and active safety to Car & Driver.

No Force

The US view on regulation AI is much more relaxed. President Obama said this to this month’s Wired:

“The way I’ve been thinking about the regulatory structure as AI emerges is that, early in a technology, a thousand flowers should bloom. And the government should add a relatively light touch, investing heavily in research and making sure there’s a conversation between basic research and applied research. As technologies emerge and mature, then figuring out how they get incorporated into existing regulatory structures becomes a tougher problem, and the govern­ment needs to be involved a little bit more. Not always to force the new technology into the square peg that exists but to make sure the regulations reflect a broad base set of values. Otherwise, we may find that it’s disadvantaging certain people or certain groups”.

A new White House Report titled “Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence,”  outlines possible future directions and considerations for AI technology development over the next 50 years:

“The (US) Department of Transportation (DOT) is using an approach to evolving the relevant regulations that is based on building expertise in the Department, creating safe spaces and test beds for experimentation, and working with industry and civil society to evolve performance-based regulations that will enable more uses as evidence of safe operation accumulates.”