Continental Sets Out its Auto AI Ethics

Automotive supplier giant Continental has drawn up a code of ethics that AI should abide by to quell consumer disquiet about the robotic system.

Acknowledging that AI is becoming increasingly important feature of development for future mobility, Continental has developed the code for the use of such self-learning systems. The move also accepts that consumers, and many in the auto industry itself, are uneasy at the headlong rush towards AI and machine learning that could marginalize the desires and ambitions of human users.

Continental says the focus of the new regulatory framework is on the transparency of computer-based decisions as well as on data security. If key work steps are taken over by computers, a basic prerequisite for acceptance is that people continue to understand how such a self-learning system works.

Quite rightly, they will ask: Where is the data taken from? What processing steps lead to what actions? How is the data stored? Internally, for example in HR management, do work processes that involve the use of artificial intelligence comply with Continental’s other regulations, such as those relating to equality?

The company says these questions and regulations are essential when it comes to shaping the mobility of the future already underway with AI powered voice assistants, diagnostic methods in the medical sector and navigation applications as examples. The auto supplier relies on AI for a wide range of its products including camera-based ADAS with object recognition, turn assist systems and gesture recognition as a means of communication between people and vehicles.

Dirk Abendroth, chief technology officer of Continental, said: “Artificial intelligence can and must only be programmed and used in accordance with clear ethical principles. Smart algorithms play a huge role in the automotive industry, such as in the case of autonomous driving. As a technology company, we are responsible for ensuring that all our product developments and internal processes are in keeping with ethical standards. This is why AI-based decision-making must always be nondiscriminatory.”

The code of ethics corresponds with international regulations such as the EU’s ethics guidelines for trustworthy AI. It applies to all Continental locations worldwide and serves as a guide for all collaboration partners of the company.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *