International workshop “Smart technologies for improving driver behavior: Technological, psychological, and ethical perspectives”

Place and time: IPO Building, Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands, October 30-31

Keynote speakers
Manfred Tscheligi, University of Salzburg (Psychology) Nicole van Nes, SWOV Institute (Road Safety) Joel Anderson, University of Utrecht (Ethics) Rino Brouwer, TNO Netherlands (EcoDriver Project)

Background and aims:
Humans are far from ideal drivers: they are known to fall asleep behind the wheel, drink and drive, cause traffic jams, and have energy consuming driving habits. With recent technological developments we can improve road safety, mobility, and energy efficiency by influencing the driver. The attempt to influence driver behaviour can be placed in broader trends within traffic management. The communication between vehicles (V2V), between vehicles and infrastructure (V2I), and the support and automation of driver tasks offer new opportunities and challenges for traffic management by means of targeting driver behaviour.

Recently, technologies have been developed that influence drivers by for instance giving them some form of feedback: persuasive technologies (e.g. eco-feedback technologies, advisory Intelligent Speed Adaptation, fatigue detectors, etc.). This workshop focuses on the technical, psychological, and ethical issues regarding the use of such persuasive technologies in cars to influence the driver of the future.

1) Technology & design
Successful persuasive and automation technology crucially depends on smart and reliable technology. There are many technological issues to be solved: How can psychological persuasive strategies be implemented in technology? How can Vehicle-to-vehicle and Vehicle-to-infrastructure communication technology contribute to improving driving behavior? How can automotive technology deal with ‘mixed traffic’ and support drivers in this respect? How does a focus on influencing the driver affect car design more generally? What are the key promises and challenges on the way to decentralized traffic management, and what are the implications for the role of the driver?

2) Psychology & Human factors
Wanting to change drivers’ behavior is one thing, but how are we going to accomplish this? How can we actually persuade people to change their behavior? How does behavioral adaptation of drivers diminish the gains in safety, mobility, and energy efficiency? And if we decide to take over with automation technology, how can we make sure that drivers will trust and accept the technology enough to let go of their control of the car? Different states of automation in different vehicles will complicate these issues.

3) Ethics & policy
When persuading people, there is a trade-off between social values and autonomy: are some social values like safety and energy efficiency that important that we should give up some autonomy? Are governments allowed to patronize drivers into ‘good’ behavior? Which considerations should guide the choice for and implementation of policies that involve persuasive or automation technology? What if failure of these technologies contributes to an accident? Who’s morally and legally responsible in these cases? Should the design of cars respond to this issue, e.g. by including black boxes? Since these new technologies put pressure on the current legal framework, (how) should this framework be adapted?

Participation: Registration for the workshop is required but free of cost. Space is limited, so please let us know if you want to participate, by sending an email to

Organized by researchers from Mechanical Engineering (TU/e), Human-Technology Interaction (TU/e), and Philosophy & Ethics (TU/e), in connection with the NWO-funded project “Persuasive Technology, Allocation of Control, and Social Values”.


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