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A constructive role for social science in the development of automated vehicles

Cohen, T., Stilgoe, J., Stares, S. ORCID: 0000-0003-4697-0347 , Akyelken, N., Cavoli, C., Day, J., Dickinson, J., Fors, V., Hopkins, D., Lyons, G., Marres, N., Newman, J., Reardon, L., Sipe, N., Tennant, C., Wadud, Z. & Wigley, E. (2020). A constructive role for social science in the development of automated vehicles. Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 6, 100133. doi: 10.1016/j.trip.2020.100133


Automated vehicles (AVs) have the potential to cause profound shifts across a wide range of areas of human life, including economic structures, land use, lifestyles and personal well-being. Most current social science on AVs is narrowly framed. Research on public attitudes has focused on whether people are likely to accept and use AVs. We contend that failing to anticipate a wider range of profound social implications may have serious negative consequences, and that social scientists from a range of disciplinary perspectives can provide invaluable insights. Our conclusions are the product of a workshop in London held in 2018 to discuss the place of social science research in relation to the development of AVs. This paper summarises a core selection of our concerns, interests, theoretical and substantive points of reference and aspirations for a constructive role in this field of research and development.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Publisher Keywords: Automated vehicles, Autonomous vehicles, Self-driving, Driverless, Social science, Research agenda
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
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