The Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium and Fairness by Design

The Ford Motor Company, General Motors, the Toyota Motor Corporation, and SAE International have recently announced the formation of the Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium (AVSC) whose aim is to advance the safe development, testing and deployment of automated vehicles.

The AVSC, according to SAE, “will provide a safety framework around which autonomous technology can responsibly evolve in advance of broad deployment, ultimately helping to inform and accelerate the development of industry standards for autonomous vehicles (AVs) and harmonize with efforts of other consortia and standards bodies.”

The first initiative of AVSC will be a product development framework (or Roadmap) which is applicable to the manufacturers, developers and “integrators” of autonomous technologies, also putting significant weight on the importance of “data collection, protection, and sharing required to reconstruct certain events” among others.

The self-driving vehicle is unavoidable for the development of an effective, safe and enjoyable future of mobility and compliance with the principle of data protection by design and by default is paramount to assure that such an important technological development fully respects the rights and freedoms of individuals.

In the development process of automated vehicles, car manufacturers and relevant technology providers should closely enforce the so-called concept of “fairness by design” where fairness relates to balanced and proportionate data processing. In line with this principle, relevant stakeholders should take into account the interests and reasonable expectations of privacy of data subjects. The processing of personal data should not intrude unreasonably upon the privacy, autonomy and integrity of data subjects, and organisations should not exert pressure on data subjects to provide personal data. Fairness goes beyond what is strictly prescribed by the law, taking into consideration an ethical dimension as discussed above.

Like Data Protection by Design, it should be built into the very design of connected vehicles, their components, and more generally, all the related data processing activities, and – most importantly – it should form an integral part of the algorithms that underpin the information/data processing which should themselves be designed and developed in a way that is compatible with the concept of “fairness by design”.

Fairness by design may be seen as a further specification of the principle of data protection by design aimed at complementing the legal with the ethical dimensions of privacy and protection of personal data for the development of a healthy and democratic digital society.

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