Autonomous vehicles raise many ethical and moral issues that are not easy to deal with and that, if not addressed correctly, might be an obstacle to the advent of such a technological revolution. These issues are critical because autonomous vehicles will interact with human road users in new ways and current traffic rules might not be suitable for the resulting environment. We consider the problem of learning optimal behavior for autonomous vehicles using Reinforcement Learning in a simple road graph environment. In particular, we investigate the impact of traffic rules on the learned behaviors and consider a scenario where drivers are punished when they are not compliant with the rules, i.e., a scenario in which violation of traffic rules cannot be fully prevented. We performed an extensive experimental campaign, in a simulated environment, in which drivers were trained with and without rules, and assessed the learned behaviors in terms of efficiency and safety. The results show that drivers trained with rules enforcement are willing to reduce their efficiency in exchange for being compliant to the rules, thus leading to higher overall safety.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited