The normativity of automated driving: a case study of embedding norms in technology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Autonomous driving is a technology that is currently in a phase of being developed and tested on roads in several countries. A major challenge for autonomous driving and for smart city technologies in general is regulatory challenges both regarding regulation of the technology in itself and technology as a regulator of urban space. This article examines how the development of autonomous driving embeds legal norms in technology and how conceptions of law through technology, such as Lawrence Lessig’s “Code is Law” are challenged by new technical developments. The article is based on a case study following the DriveMe project in Gothenburg, Sweden, aiming to conduct a trial of self-driving cars on ordinary roads, including conducting interviews with engineers working on the project as well as representatives of the Swedish traffic authorities. The purpose of the article is to test this new situation for norms embedded in code against the framework of “code is law” which has been a dominant perspective in socio-legal studies of technology.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law and Society


  • autonomous driving, code is law, normativity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-58
Number of pages12
JournalInformation & Communications Technology Law
Issue number1
Early online date2016 Dec 22
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch