HEiKAexplore Topic 2019/2020

Autonomous systems in the area of conflict between law, ethics, technology, and culture

robot-4120890.jpg by Prince C @ Pixabay

In the Year of Science 2019 on Artificial Intelligence, it becomes particularly clear what significance this key technology has today and will play in the future. On the one hand, technological innovations, opportunities and challenges are moving into the social field of vision. On the other hand, there are legal, ethical, social and cultural questions that need to be answered.

Thus, the research, development and utilization of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, their legal evaluation, popularization and reflection as well as the presentation and discussion of their social implications once and now are in the focus of science in a variety of ways. This applies to the engineering sciences as well as the humanities, cultural studies, law and social sciences.

Technology past, technology presents and technology futures thus become a current and hot topic of research - especially when it comes to the distribution of tasks between humans and machines, the attribution of responsibility and participation, in short: when it comes to cultural factors.

HEiKAexplore Workshop on 24. June 2019 in Heidelberg

The authors of the successful topic proposal are currently driving the content of this topic forward (download below). In this context, the workshop offers the opportunity for the participants to open up further subfields for the topic. The objectives of the workshop are also concrete plans for possible applications within the current HEiKA call for projects (deadline: 4 September 2019). In order to identify new synergies, it will be possible to present your own research / interest in the form of a poster or a short presentation.

Another point of discussion should be possible future perspectives for the HEiKAexplore topic, which go beyond the start-up support provided by HEiKA.

More details...

To prepare and plan the workshop, we ask you to send us a short e-mail to info@heika-research.de until June 11, 2019.

We are looking forward to meeting you!



Aim of the Research Bridge HEiKAexplore "Autonomous Systems in the Field of Law, Ethics, Technology and Culture" is the mapping of the research field on the basis of case studies and accompanying qualitative technical and social research as well as jurisprudential research. Local characteristics such as international developments are to be marked and made visible. The subject of the analysis should be concrete artefacts as well as the practices that are carried out by actors on the basis of these artefacts. As an important topic, the aspect "autonomous driving and law" in interdisciplinary cooperation of technical, legal and social science is at the centre of the investigation.

In future mobility systems, with a large proportion of automated vehicles, the analysis of interrelations between socio-technical and legal issues is a key success factor for the realization of innovative fully automated mobility, also to create a cross-disciplinary tool integrating scope analysis of decisions. Jurisprudence raises questions of general liability law, road traffic law, product liability law and other civil law aspects.

In addition, questions of criminal law, legal theory and public law research will be asked and linked with the discussion of the responsibilities associated with the development of highly automated vehicles for humans and how they can be addressed. For the product development of these complex systems of systems (SoS) suitable methods and tools must be created, which make it possible to link boundary conditions from the different sub-disciplines and ultimately make them accessible for validation. In addition to the technical requirements, new laws and standards form the legal basis for the development of new autonomous systems. Their interactions need to be modelled and methodically integrated into the product development process.

The research of this complex of questions will also take place in the format of a real laboratory, by means of which science does not research only "for" or "about" society, but "with society". This integrative approach enables the discourse-based solution finding between technology, socio-technology and law for SoS mobility systems, taking into account the interests of all stakeholders. The aim of this interaction analysis is also to explore the need for concrete changes to individual statutory provisions at EU level or at the level of national law and to make concrete proposals for shaping future legislation. The Research Bridge therefore investigates all aspects concerning the safety and legal certainty of the use of autonomous vehicles.

More broadly, the Research Bridge will generally identify and contextualize research paradigms, cues and visual strategies in the context of autonomous systems compared to other, historical and current key technologies. Corresponding debates on the changing world of work include, for example, predecessors for assembly line work and automation. This raises independent questions about Konstanz in transition because in all other respects, the very new builds on the familiar. Thus, the operation of autonomous systems remains much less obvious to users than the purely external change of user interfaces and controls. On the other hand, autonomous systems and "artificial intelligence" even alter our research habits and question our image of man. This requires reactions from all scientific disciplines for which the research bridge is open.


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HEiKAexplore Topic 2019 (description)

  1. (application/pdf, 571.78 KB)

Scientific coordinatiors:

Maître en droit (Université Aix-Marseille III)
Executive Director
Institut für deutsches und europäisches Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsrecht
Heidelberg University