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(b) The car can stay on course and kill one pedestrian, or swerve and kill its passenger.(c) The car can stay on course and kill several pedestrians, or swerve and kill its passenger. CY] Driverless cars are due to be part of day to day highway travel.In general, people are comfortable with the idea that self-driving vehicles should be programmed to minimize the death toll." The authors said, "Three surveys suggested that respondents might be prepared for autonomous vehicles programmed to make utilitarian moral decisions in situations of unavoidable harm.This was even true, to some extent, of situations in which the AV could sacrifice its owner in order to save the lives of other individuals on the road." Offering his reflections on the research, Dave Gershgorn in Popular Science wrote, "Sure, driverless cars can reduce traffic fatalities by up to 90 percent.The researchers conducted three online surveys in June.The studies were programmed on Qualtrics survey software and recruited participants from the Mechanical Turk platform, for a compensation of 25 cents. They were "interesting," said MIT Technology Review, "if predictable.
"Autonomous Vehicles Need Experimental Ethics: Are We Ready for Utilitarian Cars?
For example, running over a pedestrian on the road or a passer-by on the side; or choosing whether to run over a group of pedestrians or to sacrifice the passenger by driving into a wall.
It is a formidable challenge to define the algorithms that will guide AVs confronted with such moral dilemmas.
"As we are about to endow millions of vehicles with autonomy, taking algorithmic morality seriously has never been more urgent." The authors believe answers are most likely to come from surveys employing the protocols of experimental ethics.
Overall, they wrote, the field of experimental ethics offers key insights into the moral and legal standards that people expect from autonomous driving algorithms.
When self-driving cars first appear on roads, the safety picture may be nuanced, say experts, where people are not necessarily prepared for the abundance of caution used by automated drivers.