Summary of the Impact:

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) challenge technology and design in many ways. Their deployment on our roads raises interesting legal, liability, and ethical questions. Dr Finbarr Murphy and Dr Martin Mullins, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick and Lero the Irish Software Research Centre, have undertaken research in risk and liability that addresses these challenges. 

Their research impacts industry competitiveness and expanded industry networks with numerous public and private partners through three EU funded projects. Their work informs policy through the authors involvement in the European Commission expert group on future liability law (2019) which provides guidelines for testing autonomous vehicles. A year-long collaboration resulted in a public report. Following on from this, Dr. Murphy was invited to present his findings and be questioned by the European Parliament Legal Committee (JURI). Ultimately, this will result in EU legislation on civil liability for AI which will be directly influenced by the Emerging Risk Group’s (ERG) research.

Their research also contributes to the development of a novel teaching module, Risk, ethics, governance and artificial intelligence (AI), which is part of an MSc in Artificial Intelligence and other graduate programmes. The research has led to new underwriting processes. A campus spin-out company, Transgero, has been established to commercialise the work. Mullins and Murphy are developing ethical protocols to ensure fairness in the face of the applied ethical challenges posed by artificial intelligence.

Beneficiaries: Autonomous vehicles R&D industry, national and international policymakers, the insurance industry, general public, automotive and insurance consumers, students. 

Sustainable Development Goals

References to the research

Artificial Driving Intelligence and Moral Agency: Examining the Decision Ontology of Unavoidable Road Traffic Accidents through the Prism of the Trolley Dilemma

Authors: Cunneen, M., Mullins, M., Murphy, F., and Gaines, S.

Reasonable, Adequate and Efficient Allocation of Liability Costs for Automated Vehicles: A Case Study of the German Liability and Insurance Framework

Authors: Pütz, F., Murphy, F., Mullins, M., Maier, K., Friel, R., and Rohlfs, T.

From semi to fully autonomous vehicles: New emerging risks and ethico-legal challenges for human-machine interactions

Authors: Bellet, T., Cunneen, M., Mullins, M., Murphy, F., Pütz, F., Spickermann, F., Braendle, C., and Baumann, M.F.