Skip to main content

Impact on biodiversity often neglected in autonomous vehicle research

Description of the explored dimensions and the three scenarios.
Description of the explored dimensions and the three scenarios.
Published Nov 28, 2022

The impact on important issues such as biodiversity and cybersecurity are often neglected in autonomous vehicle research frameworks, according to a new ITRL study.

As researchers try to investigate how an introduction of autonomous cars will impact our society a new paper from ITRL discusses how most studies rarely covers all types of impacts. For example, the majority of frameworks used today for assessment are notably missing the impact on biodiversity, cybersecurity, and economic impacts. Biodiversity is a threat on a similar level as climate change and cybersecurity is of major concern as autonomous cars risk being targeted in cyber-attacks.

"It's important that we get a comprehensive understanding of the impacts of this new technology. The transport system is connected to many parts of society and automation could lead to paradigm shifts for the transport sector. Many studies on this topic only covers a few aspects, but that e.g. cybersecurity issues are not discussed prevent us from addressing important issues before, not after a wide-spread introduction", says Erik Almlöf, one of the researchers behind the study.

The authors instead introduces the TIA framework which have made it possible to look at topics rarely covered and made it easier to compare the scale of impacts for e.g. accidents and infrastructure costs.

"The TIA framework is by no means a perfect framework, there are aspects that are not covered at all such as a potential increase in unemployment. However, compared to all previous frameworks we have found, the TIA framework is designed to address politically decided goals for the transport system, whereas the other frameworks are mostly the work of experts. Having experts decide on which aspects are important to discuss is vital, but having a framework that comes from politics also gives a credibility and maybe also a public acceptance."

Read the full paper here