There was great interest in the civil dialog: approximately 90 Aachen citizens met at the Aula Carolina on 6 April 2019 to participate in Germany’s first dialog on autonomous mobility. They had the opportunity to exchange their thoughts on the future of mobility for one day in groups of 6 – 8 people. The broad spectrum of topics discussed ranged from traffic safety and data protection to the creation of concrete future scenarios.
The civil dialog is both part of an international dialog process where citizens should be actively involved in shaping autonomous mobility and part of the interdisciplinary joint project APEROL. In APEROL, the Aachen citizens have the chance to contribute their ideas for the implementation of an autonomous shuttle service. The event was organized by the City of Aachen in cooperation with the Human-Computer-Interaction Center of the RWTH Aachen University. Nexus acted as national coordinator, Mission Publique as international coordinator, and was responsible for the concrete design of the dialogue. Those responsible for the APEROL project were also available throughout the day as contact persons for the participants. In this way, all emerging uncertainties could directly be discussed with an expert.
The chosen format of an open dialog with participants from different age and educational groups makes it possible to identify the concerns and needs of citizens at an early stage and to include them in the design. The high number of participants and the variety of committed discussions within the small groups show how relevant and present the topic is in the population. The feedback within the discussion groups also confirms that the opportunity for active shaping and intergenerational exchange is highly appreciated.