Simulation Game in Student Laboratory – Introducing the Autonomous Vehicle

22.06.2018

Prof. Roos visited the Alfried Krupp School Laboratory at the Ruhr-Universtität Bochum along with a group of pupils from the Graf-Engelbert-School.

The class 9 pupils aimed to examine the challenges facing the introduction of autonomous vehicles to our roads.

After having spent the past six months examining possible future scenarios, chances and risks associated with the introduction of autonomous vehicles, the 15 year olds were now able put their knowledge into practice with the help of a simulation game. In small groups they did role-plays and acted as if they were either government leaders, leaders of the opposition, representatives of the car industry, lobbyists or representatives of a car-sharing company such as UBER.
The information obtained hereby was fed into simulation software, developed by Prof. Roos over the last two years in cooperation with the Graf-Engelbert School. This software used the decisions made by the pupils to forecast probable consequences and scenarios. The pupils were either shocked or delighted with the new levels of unemployment, sales figures and profit levels for the car industry and car-sharing companies and were chuffed with strategies which proved successful or very annoyed about making wrong decisions, in which case they made huge efforts to improve the outcome.

The use of role-play helped the pupils to understand the complicated interaction between the different parties involved and showed them just how much influence each party could have on a possible switch to autonomous vehicles. This was of course the ultimate goal of the simulation. It’s all about being aware of the complexity of the relationships and the interaction between the various interest groups as well as the unexpected side effects this can bring about, according to Prof. Roos. This is all reflected in the simulation. If you try to do too much too fast, things can go horribly wrong. So you learn to be more cautious. It is important to understand the decisions of the parties involved, he adds. It quickly becomes clear, that having extreme views leads to nowhere, it is better to make a compromise or to try to reach an agreement. This could explain too, why politicians are often seemingly slow to decide on anything.

At the end of the day the pupils were able to drastically reduce the number of road accidents, traffic jams and the level of pollution, as autonomous vehicles had forced the conventional car off the road in the simulation game. Unfortunately, the consequences were reduced wages and a dramatic rise in unemployment. Interestingly, most of the pupils were initially against the idea of introducing autonomous vehicles.