Ordering the mess of everyday traffic
(University of Cologne)
Paper short abstract:
Self-driving car assemblages are ordering devices. How does a self-driving car assemblage order its environment and what are the consequences of its ordering?
Paper long abstract:
Navigating a car in a large city can be confusing for inexperienced drivers. As for roboticists trying to make a car navigate itself, the messiness of urban traffic poses an equal if not greater challenge. Computers are great at solving well-defined problems, but how can you transform driving into a formalized problem? Self-driving car assemblages are ordering devices. How does a self-driving car assemblage order its environment and what are the consequences of its ordering? There is little empirical research on the present versions of autonomous driving in urban traffic (Brown and Laurier 2017). My analysis is grounded in empirical material generated by original ethnographic research. Between June 2012 and November 2015 I conducted fieldwork among a collective of computer scientists and their computational enhanced cars in Germany. My research is mainly situated within conversations on robotics and artificial intelligence in STS (e.g. Collins 1995; Suchman 2008).
From A to B: orders and disorders of routing and navigation