Maastricht Economic and social Research and  training centre on Innovation and Technology

 
I&T Weekly holiday break
I&T Weekly is taking a holiday break. We will be back on Friday, January 12, 2018 with a fresh selection of innovation and technology news. On behalf of the entire UNU-MERIT team, we wish our readers an excellent 2018!




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All headlines
  • France announces landmark ban on fossil fuel production
  • Extreme laser bursts may lead to practical nuclear fusion
  • Gene editing staves off deafness in mice
  • Integrated circuits could make quantum computers scalable
  • 'Water cloak' uses electromagnetic waves to eliminate turbulence
  • Cold cigarette lighter will power satellite
  • World's first ethical guidelines for driverless cars adopted in Germany
    Humans before animals and property. No discrimination as to who should survive. Safeguards against malicious hacking. These are just some of the world-first ethical rules being implemented in Germany regarding how autonomous vehicles are to be programmed.

    The federal transport minister Alexander Dobrindt presented a report on automated driving to Germany's cabinet last month. The report is the work of an Ethics Commission on Automated Driving, an expert panel of scientists and legal experts. The report notes the technological advances being made to increase automation in cars to make them safer and reduce accidents, but it adds:

    'Nevertheless, at the level of what is technologically possible today […] it will not be possible to prevent accidents completely. This makes it essential that decisions be taken when programming the software of conditionally and highly automated driving systems.'

    The report lists 20 guidelines for the motor industry to consider in the development of any automated driving systems. The cabinet has adopted the guidelines, making it the first government in the world to do so. The report allows German car makers to maintain their technological lead, setting a strong example for the rest of the world to follow.

    The guidelines will be reviewed after two years of use. Doubtless there will be fine tuning in the light of experience, in this the first of many reviews in the years and decades to come. The guidelines are solidly reasoned and comprehensive enough to provide a legal basis for German car-makers to move forward with their plans.

    Science Alert    September 08, 2017