Ethics of transportation

Whether we realised it or not, engineering is a political activity.

Filippo Santoni de Sio

Moral dilemmas in crash avoidance

  • Lin P. Why Ethics Matters for Autonomous Vehicles
  • Santoni de Sio F. Killing by Autonomous Vehicle and the Legal Doctrine of Necessity

Responsible Innovation and self-driving cars

  • Santoni de Sio F. Ethics and Self-Driving Cars:  A White Paper on Responsible Innovation in Automated Driving Systems
  • Stilgoe J. Machine Learning, Social Learning and the Governance of Self-Driving Cars


  • Pereira et al. Distributive Justice and Equity in Transportation
  • Snellen D & de Hollander G. ICT’S Change Transport and Mobility: Mind the Policy Gap!

Freedom and Safety   

  • Nihlén Fahlquist J. Saving Lives in Road Traffic—Ethical Aspects
  • Smids J. The Moral Case for Intelligent Speed Adaptation


  • Reiman JH. Driving to the Panopticon: A Philosophical Exploration of the Risks to Privacy Posed by the Highway Technology of the Future
  • Zimmer M. Surveillance, Privacy and the Ethics of Vehicle Safety Communication Technologies


  • Marchant et al. Technology, Unemployment, and Policy Options
  • Brynjolfsson E. and McAfee A. The Great Decoupling (An Interview by Bernstein & Raman)

The course explores some ethical, political and societal aspects and problems related to the design, development, management and use of transportation systems, with a particular focus on their digitalisation and robotisation. You will be introduced to a range of relevant aspects and concepts, including the theories of Responsible Innovation and Value-Senstive Design, theories of justice in relation to access to transportation, theories of moral and legal responsibility in relation to the functioning of transport systems, and the problem of technological unemployment. You will analyse ethical, legal and social problems of transportation in relation to case studies, and you will explore possibilities for resolving, diminishing or preventing these problems.

After having completed the course the student:
• can better recognise and analyse ethical and social aspects and problems inherent in (automated) transportation and in the work of professionals and managers active in the design, development, management and control of (automated) transportation systems
• can see these problems within the broader background of moral and political philosophy
• are able to explore and assess possibilities for solving or diminishing existing and emerging ethical and social problems that attach to (automated) transportation and the work of professionals and managers in this domain.
• are better prepared to perform your future work as a professional or manager in the design, development, production and control of (transportation) technology in an ethical and socially responsible way
• can prepare a small research of critical analysis of an ethical, legal or societal issue related to a case-study

Ethics in the age of autonomous transportation

Guest lecture at the Polytechnic University of Milan