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Understanding the Risk in Developing Autonomous Vehicles


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Researchers Involved:

Mr. Finbarr Murphy

B’Eng, MA, PhD

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Dr. Martin Mullins

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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

  • 03 Good Health and Wellbeing
  • 08 Decent work and economic growth
  • 09 Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • 11 Sustainable cities and communities

References to the research

Semiautonomous Vehicle Risk Analysis: A Telematics‐Based Anomaly Detection Approach

https://doi.org/10.1111/risa.13217

Authors: Ryan, C., Murphy F. and Mullins M.


Connected and autonomous vehicles: A cyber-risk classification framework

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2018.06.033

Authors: Sheehan, B., Murphy, F., Mullins, M., and Ryan, C.


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

https://doi.org/10.1080/08839514.2018.1560124

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


The Impact of Autonomous Vehicle Technologies on Product Recall Risk

https://doi.org/10.1080/00207543.2019.1566651

Authors: Murphy, F., Pütz, F., Mullins, M., Rohlfs, T., Wrana, D., and Biermann, M.


Editorial for the special issue – Liability and insurance for semi-autonomous vehicles.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2018.07.014

Authors: Murphy, F. and Mullins, M.


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

https://doi.org/10.1017/err.2018.35

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


Semi-autonomous vehicle motor insurance: A Bayesian Network risk transfer approach

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trc.2017.06.015

Authors: Sheehan, B., Murphy, F., Ryan, C., Mullins, M., and Liu, H.Y.


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

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trf.2019.04.004

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