What is Trust? A Review of Trust Definitions in Autonomous Vehicle Research

Memunat A. Ibrahim
School of Cybernetics, Australian National University


This research investigates how researchers in autonomous vehicles (AVs) define, and encode trust in Cyber-physical social systems (CPSSs) using AVs as a case study. It aims to explore the values associated to trust in AVs research in different nations. CPSSs are systems comprising of interconnected cyber, physical, and social elements “used and built by humans in their natural environments”[2]. CPSSs like AVs are increasingly being deployed in societies, where they operate, interact with, and influence other social, cyber, and physical systems in their environment – including humans. Trust has emerged in research as an important factor that affects the acceptance and adoption of autonomous technologies in the society [1]. The idea of trust has long been the subject of study and research across millennia in social sciences, computing, and engineering. Trust has been associated with values like, safety, security, privacy, performance, etc. in computing and engineering. Trust is cultural universal – it exists in every human society but varies from culture to culture; the meaning of trust is diverse and contextual [3]. Hence, the trustworthiness of a CPSS may vary depending on the social context in which it is deployed. While trust has been researched extensively in computing and engineering, in this paper, I am to explore trust as an attribute and behaviour of CPSSs by exploring the questions: What is trust in AVs context? What social values are associated to trust in AVs research? The paper examines the definitions of trust, and the values associated with the trustworthiness in CPSSs in AVs research.

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