Should automatic system have high-level control permission among vehicle?

Group 26

Nowadays, automatic system has already been employed in a wide field. With a high-level of control permission, automatic system in vehicles can act as a “driver” to take over the control of vehicle. But such high-level of control permission for automatic system can cause many ethical problems such as how to judge the responsibility of an autonomous driving accident, how to formulates suitable codes of conduct related to the reliability of automatic system. Therefore, it is necessary to consider about whether adopting the automatic system with high-level of control permission or not.

High-level control permission for automatic system can produce positive social effects.

Higher intelligent autonomous control system has higher authority to control the vehicles. With the high-level control permission such as level 4&5, the automatic system gradually replace human to complete driving behaviors. The main purpose of the automatic driving is to provide people a safety travel and reduce the car accident rate.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 1550 deaths each year from car accidents caused by drowsy driving [1]. In these accidents, most of them can be prevented if an autopilot were used. Because the automatic systems are the intelligences of machine which has no feeling, an high-level control permission of automatic system can not only provide us a safer travel no matter when you are tired or drunk,  but also prevent the innocent passersby from deaths [2]. Moreover, based on the high-level competence of driving the vehicles, it reduces the driving standard, which means more people like beginners and disabled people can drive their cars freely [3] [4]. Using highly automatic control vehicles by drivers is a behaviour of respecting life and social responsibility due to the low probability of traffic accidents by monitoring the surroundings as well as control the speed at different road conditions. A complete connection car network can significantly improve the safety and travel experience, which eliminate the moral condemnation and self-blame from the accidents caused by physical problems of drivers like fatigue driving or visual impairment. Besides, the programmers will bring the automatic systems the right values when creating them. It ensures that the systems control the vehicle on the basis of “moral purposes”, right social values and correct ethical, even in pure auto-driving stages.

Boeing’s vice president of product development said, “Autopilot technology already does most of the work once a plane is aloft, and has no trouble landing an airliner even in rough weather and limited visibility” [5]. Captain Canoll, president of the Air Line Pilots Association indicated that a single-pilot aircraft must be safe to fly without anyone at the controls in case the pilot takes a break or becomes incapacitated [6]. Meanwhile, if the behaviour of air pilot violates the codes of conduct of flight, like changing the route, Autopilot system will have the right to take over plane control system following by the Professional Codes and can remind the pilot to correct their behaviours.

High-level control permission for automatic system may cause complicated ethical problems.

Given the Lion Air JT610 flight, which crashed on 29th October, 2018, as an example. In this accident, the plane is reported that the main reason for crashing is due to the automatic system in the plane, which repeatedly forced the plane nose down [7]. After this accident, Boeing was sued by victim’s family that the flight-control system can be triggered even if the plane is manually controlling [8]. Moreover, a similar accident, which is speculated that it was caused by the same problem [9], happened in Ethiopian Airlines in March, 2019 and a trust issue is caused: more than 50 nations take steps to ground the Boeing 737 Max [10]. The consequence of these two accidents is that, not just the Boeing company lose its reputation among civilian but also cause doubts on the reliability of automatic system which can interrupt manual control.

Response to the control system application in the automobile. Current system Level 1&2 are still in driver-control stage which means multiple elements can be taken by cruise control systems to assist the driver as much as possible [11]. Before achieving the purely auto-drive stage, there are many ethical issues to be faced. For instance, some special groups, such as schoolchild, aged people and pets, leading some urgent accident randomly to make the computer trade off the importance between passengers and pedestrians based on the ethical level [12]. It is always hard for a computer deal with some accidental situations like that. As an example, an auto-drive accident, which caused a pedestrian killed by self-driving uber car in Arizona, proving that self-driving technology is still in the experimental stage [13]. Furthermore, small changes in auto-controlled acceleration, cornering and braking may highly affect energy consumption and pollution emissions. Besides the accidental issue, it is also difficult for engineers to decide to what degree of control permission can be owned by computer-controlled system in terms of travel efficiency and environmental impact.

Therefore, the control permission of the automatic system should be limited and only operates as an assistance or indicator, but not as a dominant in control system.

Initial Decision

We are against

19 thoughts on “Should automatic system have high-level control permission among vehicle?

  1. Your topic, at first glance, seems too broad. However, I think your topic is should an automatic system be able to take over the controls of a manned vehicle.

    I didn’t see any discussion of the four ethical theories.
    Please include them in assignment two.

  2. It is a good article to discuss this controversial issue based on both sides. It is really closed to our life in the future and also people should have their attention to it.

  3. I think people will eventually accept new technology, but it may not be as easy for this. Because even if there are 95% of examples show that automatic driving is safe, but no one want to be that 5%.

  4. The current intelligent driving technology does have a big problem, low intelligence, a high degree of authority, enforcement, often give a person the feeling is not trustworthy.Therefore, we should remain skeptical of autonomous driving without any guarantee and improve the technology

  5. Intelligent driving system is indeed very useful in many ways, it can help relieve the pressure of the driver, as well as help them detect the surrounding environment, the coming and going of motor vehicles, however, too much reliance on artificial intelligence to control the vehicle, aircraft and so on, I always feel not so reliable. One hand, the wide acceptance of society, on the other hand, is technology really reaching?

  6. After two Boeing 737 plane catastrophes, I really don’t know who else will think the fully automatic control by a system is a wise choice. AI can deal with the problem of normally, but when there is a crisis, the decision should be immediately given to the operator! Big companies almost lost their mind for interests.

  7. I think the main problem is that it is difficult to setup a standard that can convince most people. As the driver think the AI should put the safety of driver on the first place, but the pedestrian don’t think so.

  8. Nice article! States the pro and cons of high-level control permission for automatic system, also considered about the social effect and ethical problems, quite interesting topic.

  9. I think the high-level control permission should not be alllowed. Because it is easy to cause ethical problem when an accident happen.

  10. I support the development of automatic technology, but it needs to be under reasonable supervision.

      1. Hi, tli28. Sorry i didn’t make my point clear. What i said “supervision” is during producing or programming the automatic system, just like makink sure the system can obey the code of conduct.

  11. I agree that this technology is still not complited, it need more test and provement to show that it is safe and will not cause complicated ethical problems.

  12. But the automatic has already been used widely, may be the Boeing is just an exception. I think it is acceptable to use high-level control permission, but just need more stric test before it applied.

    1. Even if that is just an exception, no one want to be that exception, and this make it more difficult to convince people

  13. Indeed, at least for now, the automatic driving is still in developing and not recomand for a wide use. It need more successful examples to convince people.

  14. There are indeed many problems with automatic driving today. But if the development of autonomous driving is prohibited, how to realize the artificial intelligence of driving

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