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Robotics Law Research Centre

Final Report: PAct - Proving Accountability in Traffic


The Federal Government has set itself the goal of taking a pioneering role in questions of automated, in particular autonomous, driving. This is particularly evident in the context of the last two amendments to the StVG. For this very reason, it is important on the one hand to intensify research in this area and at the same time to create more trust in algorithms.

This can be achieved in particular through safe, comprehensible algorithms:

The PAcT project was started by the RobotRecht research centre and colleagues at the Technical University of Munich with the aim of formalising traffic rules. Through this, they were transferred into a computer-readable form and finally resulted in an algorithm that can be used for automated driving. Among other things, this algorithm is able to determine whether the applicable traffic law has been violated or not. The project partners concentrated mainly on the German Road Traffic Act (StVO), which regulates traffic behaviour in particular. From a legal point of view, the challenge was to support the IT specialists in transferring the legal text from its original wording into a concrete instruction for the system. In addition to very detailed definition work, the existing case law also had to be included in such a way that the algorithm could correctly classify the respective (traffic) scenario. In addition to basic work on the formalisation and programming of law, the special features of traffic law and all related areas of law had to be taken into account. 

Furthermore, it was examined whether and in what form the system's data could also be admitted and used as evidence in traffic law disputes. In addition to questions of data protection law, questions of (procedural) law of evidence play a central role.

The project has shown how important basic research in legal programming and the design of reliable algorithms is on the one hand and, on the other hand, that the constantly advancing development in the field of autonomous driving should be taken into account in the form of interdisciplinary cooperation between technology and law. 

Under this link you will find more information on various technical aspects of the project: