Meaningful Human Control over Automated Driving Systems


The project aims at guiding a responsible transition toward automated driving. We will develop a theory of “meaningful human control” over Automated Driving Systems (ADS), and translate the theory into design guidelines, both at the technical and at the institutional level. “Meaningful human control” has been identified as key for the responsible design of autonomous systems operating in circumstances where human life is at stake. By preserving meaningful human control human safety can be better protected and “accountability gaps” can be avoided. However, we still lack a satisfactory theory of what meaningful human control precisely means in relation to ADS. Based on the methodology of “value-sensitive design”, an interdisciplinary team of philosophers, traffic engineers and behavioural scientists will work together toward a definition of meaningful human control over ADS, which encompasses its conceptual, technical and behavioural dimensions; we will also develop, implement, test and improve guidelines for “designing for meaningful human control” based on two case studies: “partial” and “supervised” autonomy. Designers, manufacturers, road operators will be provided with recommendations for developing automated systems that achieve meaningful human control; policy-makers with recommendations to elaborate a regulation that promote both innovation and human values; lawyers and insurance companies will receive original inputs for the design of liability and insurance schemes; driving licensing bodies will receive recommendations for new procedures. Public and private parties in the consortium will support the definition of the case studies based on real-life demonstrators, and will connect the research to the relevant stakeholders groups.


Project number


Main applicant

Prof. dr. ir. B. van Arem

Affiliated with

Technische Universiteit Delft, Faculteit Civiele Techniek en Geowetenschappen, Transport & Planning

Team members

Dr. ir. S.C. Calvert, Dr. ir. S.C. Calvert, Dr. D.D. Heikoop, Dr. G. Mecacci


01/06/2017 to 01/03/2020