NWA grant for Sander Bohté

New AI research project focuses on brain-like systems for safer smart vehicles.

Publication date: 25-11-2020

Sander Bohté, senior researcher neural networks in CWI’s Machine Learning group, has been awarded a grant of approximately 4M euros from the NWA programme “Research along Routes by Consortia”  for the research proposal “Perceptive acting under uncertainty: safety solutions for autonomous systems”. CWI will take the lead in this research project, in which breakthrough AI solutions will be developed -based on insights in human behavior- to seamlessly integrate smart vehicles in society. Bohté has formed a consortium with a wide range of partners from the academic, private and public sector.


Recent technologies like GPS, smartphones, smart wearables, drones, or self-driving vehicles are changing the way we interact with others in our environment. Smartphones have already become ubiquitous and indispensable, but other technologies, like drones and self-driving cars, are much more difficult to integrate. Self-driving cars for example behave annoyingly unpredictable for other drivers, and can fail dramatically in complex city environments.

Humans are good at predicting and responding to others’ behavior, machines are not. This is a major obstacle for integrating “smart” vehicles in our society. The consortium joins forces to take direct inspiration from principles employed in brains to chart out human behaviors to guide autonomous agents in society, following newly defined brain-inspired AI algorithms as well as laws and regulations.

Sander Bohté: “I am really excited about the possibilities the NWA-ORC grant will offer our consortium. It allows us to develop insights from neuroscience and psychology to put society back "in-the-lead" in the rapid developments surrounding AI and smart vehicles. We focus on answering the question how humans, in particular "brains", deal with uncertainty in complex situations like traffic, and transfer these insights into both AI algorithms that are more predictable, and recommendations for the associated regulatory control frameworks that incentivizes such behavior. This human-centered approach will allow society to take back control: we strongly believe that societal needs should drive these far-reaching AI developments rather than the other way around."


Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), Radboud Universiteit, Donders Institute, TNO, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, Technische Universiteit Delft, Universiteit van Amsterdam, NLR, IMEC, 2getthere, Instituut voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Verkeersveiligheid (SWOV), Veilig Verkeer Nederland VVN, AI in motion, NXP Semiconductors, RDW, Luchtverkeersleiding Nederland LVNL, Thales, Ministerie van Justitie en Veiligheid, Rijkswaterstaat.

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