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Experimentation on future mobility and society 
Manuel Jung (Technical University of Munich)
Michael Mögele (TU Munich)
Alexander Wentland (Technical University of Munich)
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Sophia Knopf (School of Social Sciences and Technology, TU Munich)
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel brings together STS and mobility by asking about the role of STS in researching and engaging in mobility experimentation. How do experiments test society around new modes of transportation, how do test beds generate epistemic authority, and what is responsible mobility innovation?

Long Abstract:

STS is increasingly contributing to the academic debates on future mobility and involved in engaged science initiatives addressing mobility transformations. Test beds and living labs have become essential for mobility innovation strategies and transformation governance (Engels et al. 2019). The growing laborification of public spaces underlines the need for STS sensibilities regarding testing practices as instruments that reflect the mutual construction of knowledge and social orders. Experimental approaches promise to simultaneously test technology, societal responses, and regulatory frameworks to scale up successful configurations (Pfotenhauer et al. 2021). Empirical studies show how autonomous driving is related to the situatedness of the place and infrastructure (Ryghaug et al. 2022) and how experiments of autonomous vehicles explicitly test social interaction, raising questions about societal consequences (Marres 2020). Further, STS scholars reflected on responsible anticipation of the politics of mobility technologies like autonomous vehicles (Stilgoe and Mladenović 2022). At the same time, interventions that experiment with low-tech transformations, like parking space reduction, provoke considerable protest, considered representative responses to socio-technical change (Tironi 2020).

This panel aims to push further the reflection on the role of STS sensibilities in debates of future mobility experimentation. How do simulations, models, and representations of future mobility generate expertise and epistemic authority? How do situated infrastructures and innovation cultures stabilize experimentation with future mobility? How can we understand the envisioned scalability and impact of, on the one hand, experiments with technological solutions and, on the other hand, disruptions of social mobility practices? How can we make sense of responsible mobility innovation and contribute to learning for mobility governance? How can STS position itself between critical observation and making and doing mobility experimentation?

We invite both conceptual perspectives to investigate future mobility from an STS perspective and empirical studies on various kinds of experimentation on future mobility.

Accepted papers: