Technologies for change: the case of clean driving


Scientific research and technological development are heralded by some as the main means for preventing climate change, by devising ways of reducing emissions, improving energy efficiency or even capturing carbon already released into the atmosphere. Research teams throughout the world are working on engineering solutions in a variety of fields: from cars to buildings, from light bulbs to domestic appliances, from new materials to software

However, it is crucial to examine whether R&D endeavours are taking into consideration social needs and concerns, local knowledge and lay expertise; that is to say, if citizens are being involved in the definition of research questions, in the process of data collection or in the design and implementation of technical solutions.

This paper is based on a case study of a R&D project developed by a Portuguese team: CleanDrive, an educational simulator for safe and environmental driving. But how have human and social characteristics been factored in the project? Which conception of user is explicitly or implicitly assumed by the research team? How was the device tested in real human subjects? What reactions has it been eliciting from users?

Publication associated with Project Alterações Climáticas: Desafios para a Ciência e a Sociedade.