Keywords:autonomous driving, policy-making, argumentative discourse analysis (ADA), actor network theory (ANT)
This commentary proposes a methodological approach about policy analysis on autonomous driving. It focuses on the role of discourse, the multiple actors and technologies involved in the processes of urban policy-making. Autonomous driving is considered a crucial case of policy-making in cities, because of the multitude of established and new actors involved as well as the combination of different digitalisation and automation technologies. Current research outlines the uncertainty planners and policymakers find themselves in regarding how to plan and regulate for autonomous driving, and calls for the need of finding the right forms of governance and policy for the implementation of autonomous driving in urban contexts. Therefore, studying the processes of its policy in the making is vital, as it is these processes that determine if and how any kind of policy will come into place. Subsequently, it is urban policy that will define the ways autonomous driving will be implemented and its implications in cities. Since both socio-political and material factors play a role in policy-making, a suitable methodological approach is needed that can address both. Therefore, this commentary discusses methodological developments drawing inspiration from Argumentative Discourse Analysis (ADA) and combining it with elements from Actor-Network-Theory (ANT). The insights provided by the commentary aim at a more comprehensive and thorough understanding of policy-making processes of autonomous driving and how policy change occurs (or not).