The workshop will take place on Zoom:
Date: September 27, 2021
Time: 10:10 - 12:10 EST
Zoom Link:
Password: IROS2021



Self-driving cars have received significant attention in the last decade, and arguably have the potential to be the most impactful robotics application to date. The question that is usually asked by the public is “when are self-driving cars going to be here?” On one side, entrusting the entire driving problem to an autonomous agent seems frustratingly daunting. On the other side, we have started to see real deployments of autonomous vehicles in limited capacities, so perhaps there is reason for hope.

Autonomous driving advancements are typically evaluated along well-defined, but potentially myopic performance criteria. These metrics are reasonable in the sense that they do give us some quantitative measure that we can use for comparison. However, the true potential impact of this technology reaches far beyond these relatively simplistic measures. In this workshop we will take a broader perspective with respect to evaluating the progress that we have made towards making self-driving a reality. In the process, we will focus particularly on aspects of the integration of this technology that are rarely covered in technical papers on the subject. Specifically, we will focus on the following three objectives:

The primary objective of this workshop is to stimulate a conversation between roboticists, who focus on the development and implementation of autonomy algorithms, and regulators, economists, psychologists, and lawyers who are experts on the broader impacts that self-driving vehicles will have on society. We feel that it is critical to foster a community of researchers and practitioners whose expertise extends beyond the algorithmic challenges of realizing self-driving vehicles. As roboticists, we are ill-equipped to understand the broad impacts of this technology in areas that include ethics, philosophy, psychology, regulations, legal policy, and risk, to name a few, and it is critical that technological development is guided by such impacts. We will achieve our objective by inviting speakers and panelists who are experts in these adjacent fields to stimulate a broader conversation around this technology. This objective would be considered achieved if participants take the new perspectives they were exposed to and consider them in their own specific field of interest. For roboticists, this means explicitly considering these broader issues in the development of their algorithms. A stretch goal would be to spawn research collaborations between roboticists and researchers from these adjacent fields.

Scope and Themes

The workshop will include an expansive discussion led by experts in fields that are adjacent yet highly relevent to the technical development of self-driving cars. Specifically, the workshop will focus on the following themes:

  • Safety in self-driving
  • Regulatory requirements and challenges of self-driving
  • Legal issues and challenges posed by self-driving vehicles
  • Evaluation of risk in self-driving
  • Ethics of self-driving technology