Digital navigation and the driving-machine: supervision, calculation, optimization, and recognition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, I explore the navigational implications of a possible driving world. In the last few years, autonomous vehicles (AVs) have garnered significant attention, with much of this scrutiny centered on the technical possibilities, legal restrictions, and utilitarian ethics of AVs. In this paper, I look at how AVs are radically transforming the nature of navigational decision-making. Research into the automation of industrial processes and aircraft fly-by-wire systems suggests that navigational supervision, by humans, will become a significant duty, recalibrating navigation itself. I draw out the implications of automation through three navigational practices of the ‘driving-machine’ I refer to as route-calculation, terrain-optimization, and object-recognition. Attending to these practices assists in the ongoing interrogation of the machinic rendering of automobile space.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-417
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2019


  • Automation
  • autonomous vehicles (AVs)
  • calculation
  • driving
  • navigation
  • terrain
  • sensing


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