Swerving To Avoid Pedestrians

Group 61

Group 61

Autonomous vehicles are an emerging technology that are expected to reduce traffic and congestion, while increasing road safety. However, an ethical dilemma exists when coding the vehicles behaviour. In the event of an unavoidable crash that would kill either pedestrian(s) or the passenger(s) in the car, how should the car be coded to respond? Either choice has implications that are likely to affect both public health and public opinion on autonomous vehicles.

Prioritisation of occupants

Swerving To Avoid PedestriansAlthough controversial, saving the cars occupants in all situations would potentially result in greater long term gain. Autonomous cars could eliminate 90% of road traffic fatalities if they replace conventional cars. Using 2013 statistics, there would be 1541 fewer direct fatalities per year in the UK alone and over 1.1 million fewer deaths per year worldwide, greatly benefiting public health and society.

Despite general support for utilitarianism ethics (doing the least amount of harm in total) in the programming of autonomous cars, the public consensus is that personally they would not purchase a car which was programmed in some situations to sacrifice the occupants. This would reduce the usage of autonomous cars, increasing the number of deaths from normal road traffic accidents costing more lives.

Additionally, a greater uptake of autonomous cars would result in a reduction in congestion, reducing time spent in traffic, increasing productivity, reducing air pollution (which would reduce the 40,000 premature deaths a year linked to this issue and help to provide independence and mobility to disabled people. If the uptake of autonomous cars is slower, these benefits will be delayed. To promote autonomous vehicle uptake, in the extremely rare case of an unavoidable fatal crashes, priority should be given to the vehicle occupants.

Recent empirical studies suggest that many laypeople would not object to a program that makes autonomous vehicles swerve and kill a bystander in order to save more people from a potentially lethal accident. If the car contains a number of occupants (potentially including children) it may be more appropriate for the car to sacrifice a bystander in this situation.

For a driver facing the situation of an unavoidable crash, it is likely that the course of action the driver would take would favour self preservation due to natural survival instincts. As humans have a reaction time, they would not have time to weigh up options or outcomes – so the natural reactions would take over. Coding the car to always kill the car’s occupants and save pedestrians would rob the driver of their ability, and choice, to attempt to save themselves. In a statement, Iyad Rahwan from the Massachusetts institute of technology summarises this by saying “people want to live in a world where cars minimise casualties, but everyone wants their own car to protect them at all costs”

Prioritisation of other road users

Road safety is always the first and foremost obligation that a driver should consider. Protection of other road users is essential to ensure that the general public are living in a safe and harmonious environment. This also emulated within ethical theories. An example of which is utilitarianism which states that the principle of utility is the ultimate principle of morality. Practically, this means choosing whichever action or social policy would have the best consequence for everyone concerned. In the case of an unavoidable accident, the concern for the majority of people is the existential risk to human life. In highly populated areas such as cities, the number of pedestrians will be larger than the number of cars, hence saving pedestrians protects the majority of people which agrees with the utilitarian approach.

This idea is also supported by Kantian ethics, which focuses on the responsibility rather than the resulting outcome of an event. Despite the increasing uptake of autonomous car usage, which is resultant from prioritising the cars occupants, there should be no reason to increase the danger to pedestrians and fellow road users. Following Kantian ethics, it is the drivers responsibility for the actions of their car in the event of an unavoidable accident and thus the pedestrian should be prioritised.

As described by a survey in The Guardian, people are less willing to buy an autonomous car if it is programed with a moral algorithm which would sacrifice its occupants rather than others. Some people are worried this algorithm would become an obstacle toward the popularisation of autonomous cars, which may induce more accidents. This argument is not persuasive because the driver can be a pedestrian in other circumstances. Although it seems like the moral algorithm is threatening the driver’s own life, it has made the most appropriate decision to protect everyone’s interest. In other words, the driver may possibly be saved by the moral algorithm while he/she is the one on the street when accident occurred. The algorithm is fair to everyone as its always choose the action that minimize the loss of lives so there is no reason to avoid using an autonomous car. To sum up, saving the pedestrians does not mean threatening the driver’s life.

No matter who is either inside the autonomous car or the pedestrian, the value of life of each person should be the same based on equality. Therefore, killing less people should be the best choice for our society to minimize the total amount of harm. This is a similar outcome to the trolley problem thought experiment, where sacrificing the life of one person saves the life of many others.

Further Remarks:

In conclusion, the benefits of autonomous car uptake and the potential socio-economic gains must be balanced against the life of all road users and the responsibility of autonomous car users in placing others at risk.

43 thoughts on “Group 61

  1. In the recent weeks, Uber experienced a fatality while testing one of their autonomous cars. After this incident, Uber immediately ceased all testing while the accident was being investigated. Shortly after the news of the accident, a video was also released that showed the test car’s driver and the road, showing how the victim was hit. It shows the pedestrian at night, with no reflective clothes, crossing a 2 lane street. It seems that in this example, the pedestrian was in the wrong, because of the way they were unsafely crossing the street. How does this factor into the ethical argument that you have presented? If the pedestrian creates a scenario in which they are endangering themselves, is there a basis to value their life over the occupants of the car?

    1. I agree it is an issue. The uber crash you mentioned, however, was more of a technological issue as the system should have recognised the cyclist and taken action but did not. Some responsibility is with the cyclist for not being more visible, but even so, the system was designed to be able to see non-illuminated road users better than normal drivers. This is one of the reasons Uber stopped testing, to investigate what went wrong.
      The point you make more generally is a good one.I believe there may need to be new laws introduced which can penalise pedestrians for deliberate or reckless actions which lead to fatal accidents for the occupants/other road users.

  2. An interesting article with sufficient thought given to the ethical arguments. There are a number of article on driverless acars, etc, so it’ll be worthwhile for all of you to comment on each other’s articles.

    Could you clarify for me what the case for and against is please?

    1. Thank you,

      The case for is the case where the car is always coded to respond to a crash in a manner that saves the occupants of the car, the case against is to not code the car in this manner (thus prioritising other road users).

  3. For your statement, ‘…following Kantian ethics, it is the drivers responsibility for the actions of their car in the event of an unavoidable accident and thus the pedestrian should be prioritized…’ I am not quite convinced by this. As it is an autonomous car, drivers have no control during driving. If accidence occurs, shouldn’t it be the manufacturers’ problem instead? So, now, should the manufacturers take the responsibility instead of the driver?

    But it’s a good point mentioning drivers can also be part of the pedestrian. It is true that drivers themselves can also be the victim during an accident. In a greater picture, prioritization of other road users can save more life undoubtedly.

    ‘…the value of life of each person should be the same based on equality…’, in this case, I am curious about if the pedestrians are animals but not human beings, how would you choose in this case? For instance, if it is a large group of cow, the amount is much larger than the occupants, how the coding should do? As animals and human beings are both alive, having the same right to live. Moreover, animals are in the lower part of the food chain, it has a direct effect on human beings and hence on socio-economic gains.

    Last but not least, if there is an equal number between the pedestrians and occupants, how the coding decides? And if it is the pedestrians’ problem that inattentive to the road condition which make accident happened, wouldn’t it be so unfair to the driver just because the number of pedestrian is larger than the occupants?

    Anyway, this is a really good article which make me reflect a lot. Thank you!

    1. You’ve raised an interesting point about animals, as in some religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, cattle are considered sacred and countries such as India prohibit the slaughter of cattle. This raises the ethical question as to whether animal life would hold the same weight as a human life.

      In my opinion, in the UK at least, animal life would generally not be seen to be on the same level as a human life. I simply think that this arises from the human being able to contribute more towards society and the fact that the sale of meat is not prohibited. However, as mentioned, in other cultures animals are held in a higher regard, hence regulations may differ from country to country, although this would no doubt be a controversial topic.

  4. A really well thought out article regarding ethics surrounding autonomous vehicles. I have a comment about the regulations of the algorithms used for them. Will the code be the same for each car? Will it be a universal code and government implemented or enforced by law? Or will there be variation between companies or even countries?

    If not, incidents that may arise that are associated with the code for a particular companies may cause them to have worse sales. It may be that there should be a law enforced regarding the situations in which you should save the occupants or save the other road users?

    1. This depends on if these decisions are made ultimatly by the car manufacturing companies or the goverement. If the goverment makes them then they will be appliciable to all cars. if not there may be variation between car manufactures. However something to consider if it is the manufacturers in charge, is the effect that a law suit or court case could have on this decision. If a event as described above in the article occurs, then there may be a precident from a resulting law suit which would set the standard for all cars within that legal jurisdiction (i.e. EU wide, UK wide)

  5. I take issue with the argument “people want to live in a world where cars minimise casualties, but everyone wants their own car to protect them at all costs”. When a person buys a car they are tacitly agreeing to use a machine which in some cases may kill them (and with a reasonably high probability when compared to other modes of transport such as flight).

    Therefore surely the drivers bears some responsibility for the mere act of purchasing the vehicle, as they actively make the decision to use a machine which can cause harm (even though the driver intends no harm).

    One may counter-argue that a pedestrian walking down the road is tacitly acknowledging that they may be killed by an improperly functioning vehicle in some cases – however this person has not actually actively put a device on the road which can actively cause harm. As an analogy: We do not blame someone for dying in a war-zone if they just so happen to be in the path of a bullet, we blame the person who shot it.

    Therefore it seems to me that the driver surely must bear some of the responsibility the vehicle that they choose to put on the road, and part of that responsibility may be that the moral algorithm favors the pedestrian’s life over the driver’s.

    1. Thanks for your comment – this is a very valid point and looks at the situation from a virtue ethics point of view.

      However, although the pedestrian has actually not put a device onto the road, they have actively made the decision to put themselves into a potentially dangerous situation, for example jaywalking or not waiting for a red light. To go back to your analogy, you would tend to blame a bystander being hit in a warzone if they were inevitably stood in a dangerous position and were likely to get shot.

      Realistically, should an AV be functioning properly, it should never be able to hit a pedestrian unless they were stood in an obviously unsafe position, one which would cause a collision in the first place. However, it could be counter-argued that AVs may not perfectly function (as seen in the Uber case).

      1. Another potential solution to the issue is to redesign roads. It might be that in the future we build the opposite of “shared space” where we change our infrastructure to totally separate pedestrians and cars. If we can’t solve the moral algorithm problem, we can simply reframe the infrastructure so that a moral algorithm becomes unnecessary.

        1. That’s an interesting idea and is likely to be used in the future. However this topic may, and likely will, continue to be an issue until the infrastructure changes. The changes required would take a long time, and a lot of money, to implement and would require AVs to already be widely used before there would be significant benefit to redesigning roads (such as an AV lane, for example). In poorer countries, for example, it may never be economically feasible to redesign roads, and this ethical dilemma may exist for a number of years to come.

          1. That is true. It is interesting that you point out poorer countries. AVs will surely be going there as well and they will be more at risk of failure on less developed infrastructure, such as that in India. And therefore the question stated in this article may even be more pertinent for those poorer countries than for western ones as you could infer that a moral algorithm would be used more in LEDCs.

          2. Moreover, like you said – this dilemma will exist for years to come. The sorts of arguments we are discussing now might be utterly outdated when the technology reaches maturity due to shifts in culture around AV and related technology.

  6. For the application of Utilitarianism to justify taking the action which would cause the best outcome for all people, how would you define “the best outcome?”
    There is no way to quantify the value of one person over another, an example of which is; What is worth more a pregnant passenger or a young child crossing the road?
    I feel there is no practical way to apply this in the real world without an arduous series of morale ruling within courts and lawmaking institutions which would never be acceptable to a significant section of society and which there is no reasonable expectation of occurring within a reasonable timeline (next 5, 10 or 15 years).
    Also, more detail should have been provided about the ability of the car’s technology to detect information about people. Can it recognize age, gender, size etc. would help to frame the ethical argument more effectively.

    1. The best outcome from a utilitarian point of view should be to minimise overall suffering. In this case, it would depend purely on the amount of suffering, rather than who or what was suffering. In theory the car sensors (at this current moment in time consisting of radar and laser detection systems) would be able to only detect size and shape of a person, hence would be unable to discriminate from one person to another. Personally, I think if all pedestrians were treated equally, regardless of age or health, this would be the most fair course of action as one persons life would not be prioritised over another.

      For a pregnant individual, I agree that it becomes a more complicated scenario as it could be argued that more suffering would be created as the unborn child would suffer. However, currently there would be no way for an AV to distinguish between pregnant and non-pregnant individuals. It could then be judged from Kantian ethics that the intention of the vehicle was to save the most amount of lives and do the least amount of harm, yet more harm was created as a result of a crash, the choice the AV has made is still ethically the correct course of action.

  7. If autonomous cars are designed correctly, they will never breach the laws of the road and will therefore never cause a dangerous situation themselves. If a pedestrian is careless and places himself in harm’s way, it is his fault and nobody else’s. I think that these autonomous cars should be designed to prevent an accident wherever possible, but only if doing so does not place the occupants at risk. Drivers are too often blamed (and punished!) for the mistakes made by thoughtless pedestrians, and this needs to end!

  8. I favour the prioritisation of other road users because ultimately if you want to own and use a driverless car, you should be responsible for its errors. I believe that there is no way of measuring the value of one person’s life over another’s and as such, the autonomous vehicle should not be coded to try and do so.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Although I agree that there is no way of measuring one persons life over another, I believe that if the car were to attempt to save the driver in all cases, there would be a higher chance of survival of an individual overall. This is because the AV would be unable to code for things outside of its control e.g. a pedestrians’ decision to run one way or another – so if the AV decided to prioritise the pedestrian, it may inadvertently end up killing the vehicle occupants and then go on to harm or kill the pedestrian. From a Kantian viewpoint this would still be ethical – however from a utilitarian point of view it would not.

    2. This is an interesting point and similar to the point I raised in my comment. The driver tacitly assumes responsibility for their vehicle when they put it on the road. I believe soon there will be life insurance policies which have clauses for death by AV.

      However this issue is typical of Hume’s “is-ought problem”- we cannot claim to know what is right or wrong (or what one ought to do) based on the available evidence (what is), hence the idea that there’s no ought from is.

  9. I feel that, while to comparison to the trolley problem is valid, it is not a perfect analogy. The trolley problem boils down to, inaction, letting 5 people to die, or conscious action causing 1 person to die at your hands. The variables are very large in this case, the number of people in the car, the number of pedestrians at risk of collision. Also, there is the 1-1 case, with one pedestrian and one passenger at risk.

    Surely, both the utilitarian and Kantian philosophies would argue that minimising the number of casualties, with preference to the car occupants in equal number scenarios is the morally correct source of action. The car occupants should be preferred in edge cases because, as discussed above, people are not willing to purchase cars that they know will not try and protect them.

    1. Very good point about the trolley problem and you make a valid point. Thanks for your input!

      Kantian philosophies would argue that INTENDING to minimise the overall number of casualties would be morally correct while utilitarian ethics would argue that the outcome of your decision would make it either ethically correct (or incorrect).

      Hence, in some cases, such as the equal number scenario, depending on the case at hand the two ethical theories may differ – as the AV may, in some cases, cause additional unintentional suffering.

  10. An interesting article on the ethics behind self driving cars, for all the advantages a semi autonomous car offers such as lowering commute time at peak hours and helping less able individuals get their independence back to name a couple, the difficult debate over who is worse off in a collision is a reflection on the developers of the car, and the individual who has chosen to purchase the car, from a business stand point you would want to make the car most appealing to the market, and most would not choose a car that would sooner risk the driver and passengers lives.

    1. I agree, there would need to be an appeal to customers to disseminate artificial cars into the general populace which would benefit everyone. As for the point about giving back independence to the less abled, this has to be contrasted against the approximately 1-1.5 million people who rely on driving for part or all of their income. It is a difficult moral issue overall and could be argued to be representative of the debate about whether the use of labor-saving technologies is ethical.

  11. This is a problem that has been solved by ‘I Robot’ if you remember the Hollywood blockbuster the robot worked out the probability of who to save based upon a difference algorithm. Whilst individuals may not like this approach as self preservation takes precedence it is a fair approach which society can accept.
    In this way the true advantages of autonomous cars will be accepted by society as a whole.
    A thought provoking article and enjoyed reading it.

    1. Yeah but iRobot is a work of fiction, and we probably won’t get algorithms and sensors that sophisticated before we solve self driving vehicles.

  12. Well presented and interesting top of choice, however question of
    “In the event of an unavoidable crash that would kill either pedestrian(s) or the passenger(s) in the car, how should the car be coded to respond?” should really be taken back a step.

    We must ask ourselves why did this unavoidable crash present itself in the first place. If following the principles of Consequentialism whereby the ultimate basis of what is right or wrong is dependent on ones conduct then the coding for the autonomous vehicle must abide by a legal obligation of drivers and riders, such as the highway code. If this were the case, then what would have provoked the unavoidable and fatal crash in the first place?
    Having the highway code which is available to everyone should in theory be enough stop any accidents from taking place assuming it is coded for correctly and *everyone* including pedestrians are up to date with it. So what exactly are the reasons that this incident could take place, if the car is hard coded to follow a set of rules then it no longer is a variable in the equation for this “inevitability” or moral dilemma, so what’s left over? The pedestrians choice, human error.

    Forget the argument of how many people are in the car and how many lives are at risk beyond the car, this utilitarian approach is beneficial for the masses but at the end of the day, preserving a majority means at the very least a minority die (Choosing one over another will always have a negative impact on at least either sales or the media).

    Now who’s choice should this be?
    Rather than allowing the universal coding of the car to make a decision upon such a morally variable situation, how about leaving the choice to the person who put themselves at risk in the first place? And frankly coding for something that can induce such moral debate is undoubtedly not a simple task, so just take it out of the equation.

    In summary, putting anything on the road bears risk, but valuing one life over another is not a choice that should ever have a fixed code to decipher. Therefore following the rules which keep us safe should be the most invaluable tool as the main preventative measure.

    1. This is a very valid point – as the AVs would follow the highway code and therefore theoretically SHOULD never be in the wrong. But what if an AV has a fault with a sensor? What if a pedestrian doesn’t pay attention and steps out in front of a car? In each case the highway code is broken and its seemingly obvious who is at fault.

      Road traffic accidents of this nature happen daily, however there are many cases where this is less clear cut – just look at the Uber AV crash that has happened recently. Is the pedestrian in the wrong for crossing in an unsafe position, or is the AV in the wrong for a malfunctioning sensor?

      I believe that if you don’t decide to code for eventualities that are less clear cut, and don’t decide to save either the car occupants or the other road user in an inevitable crash, this is even more immoral than coding to save one and not the other, as in the majority of cases, at least one life can be saved.

      In conclusion, if you don’t implement a code at all, you’re effectively killing twice the number of people with AVs – which from Kantian, Utalitarian, care and virtue ethics, would be immoral.

      1. A good point about the highway code being broken in these cases. I think AVs will actually partially solve this problem because the dataloggers can be read post-accident and insurance companies and law enforcement can determine if the sensors failed, if the driver was at fault or whether the pedestrian was at fault and therefore prosecute accordingly. So when it comes to fault, I think AVs will have solved the issue. However if someone dies, such as the pedestrian, we have a way of thinking in the west that when someone dies, someone else must take responsibility. We need to decide, if the moral algorithm kills the pedestrian, is the driver at fault, or the corporation who built the car?

  13. I have two questions to raise about this. Firstly, should the customer have to have the decision made by the company about the decision the car will make. Would sales be improved by the customer being able to choose between the disposition that either they are harmed or another person is harmed.

    Secondly, as the owner intends to have no interaction with the motion of the vehicle as the vehicle autonomous, surely the responsibility for the impact made by the vehicle is solely held by the company who made it. Therefore the legal repercussion falls on the company and not the individual. Though the owner of the car may feel a moral impact, they may feel less issue with which choice the car will make and as such, sales may be less effected by the choice the car will make.

    1. Firstly, although theoretically possible to have cars with different algorithms, I believe that court cases/liable cases would result in a set legal precedent emerging regarding what algorithms are acceptable on the road and what the owner/ car manufacturer is liable for. It would also risk making a two-tiered system where those who could face the cost of litigation/ higher insurance premiums for the use of the car were safer than those who could not. This would not be acceptable to a large section of society.

      Secondly, it is a good point. However, I do not believe that any company would be willing to sell a car to the general public for which they were liable for any crash that it caused. This is because the financial risk this would cause would be unacceptable to most companies. One way around this would be higher sale prices, however, this would then lead to fewer autonomous cars on the road in the first place and so generally more casualties. I believe legislation regarding liability for autonomous crashes will have to be agreed before cars are first sold to the general public due to the sheer number of crashes that occur every day.

  14. An interesting piece with some well thought out points. Could I possibly get clarification of the specific type of Utilitarianism that you are citing as a potential way of governing an autonomous car? There are a number of variants of Utilitarianism put forward by philosophers and ethicists that follow different governing rules dependant on the variety, say the difference between Act and Rule Utilitarianism

    1. That is a very good point. The ability of the car to ascertain information about other road users and its occupants mean that it is difficult to apply utilitarianism in general. I believe in this case act utilitarianism would be the most appropriate, as the outcome with the least amount of harm occurring is the most important consideration.

  15. This article was a very interesting read, with a good summation of a complex topic. I particularly appreciated your opening observations regarding the reduction of the overall number of Road Traffic fatalities; as you have covered, whether autonomous vehicles or the individual themselves have put their well-being first, in the scenario of a collision it could be considered that an autonomous vehicle has more competency in considering the variables present and thus, whilst both would put the driver first, the vehicle is more likely to find an option that reduces the overall damage to all parties involved. Whilst there is still a predicted 10% of fatalities, the number of cases where this use of autonomous vehicles could result in a reduction of fatalities shows some great developments.
    One criticism: early on you state that 40,000 deaths are linked to air pollution and attach a link to a BBC paper. It is worth noting that this statistic is specific to the UK pollution, so you may wish to add *in the UK to this statistic. Similarly, the use of a BBC article as a source is not particularly reliable and often papers skew the results seen in articles to make a more dramatic story. If you look at the figures in the news article, it does say further on that this 40,000 death statistic could be as little as 1/6th of this value, suggesting that the research currently available in this field shows some correlation between air pollution and deaths, however causation still needs proving. As such, it would be better to link to a paper that supports your argument and make sure that your sentence includes either ‘correlation’ or ‘attributable’, otherwise your argument loses validation and can affect the credibility of other points in your article.
    Otherwise, a really good read, great job!

    1. That is a good point about the validity of the article. I agree it could have been stated somewhat clearer. However, such information was difficult to convey within the 1000 word limit of the blog. However, thank you for your well-researched response. I agree with the fact that autonomous cars are going to be much better than a human driver at finding the best option in a crash situation. However, the extreme situations need to be assessed as no matter how safe they are, a similar situation will, unfortunately, occur on the road one day.

  16. A very interesting read, in particular I appreciated your discussion of the impact of consumer response to a given algorithm on the overall safety of a road traffic system. This is a point I’ve not come across before and one that is perhaps not appropriately addressed in most coverage on the topic.
    I wonder however, following from your point about Kantian ethics regarding responsibility, whether an algorithm based on the party ‘at fault’ might be implemented. That is to say, in a situation where 3 people run into the road and the car must choose to kill those 3 people or 1 un-involved bystander on the pavement should the car choose the 3 at fault, even though it means more deaths?
    Likewise, in a situation where the algorithm favours saving the 3 and killing the bystander in order to minimise deaths, are the 3 in the road then culpable for the death? In my mind they are. What do you think?

    1. I think that it would be very difficult to implement what you describe effectively. An example of this is the car differentiating between a young child who has wandered into the road (and is not mentally capable to take responsibility for their actions) and someone who deliberately steps into the road to cause a crash. Another example is the difficulty of differentiating between someone who crosses the road without seeing the oncoming car, and someone who steps into the road thinking the car would stop for them. Thanks for your response.

  17. The article was interesting topics pointing out the problem that these days Autonomous vehicles face. For me, the autonomous occupants should be the one who sacrifices in the problem case. They had choice of having the autonomous vehicles so that they are the one who should responsible for it. If the autonomous vehicles put priority on the car occupants then the pedestrians would be in risk for the thing they have never chose.

    1. You make a good point. if the pedestrian is at fault (i.e. jaywalking) then the occupants of the car could be killed through no fault of their own. Also, the overall context of the decision should be considered. If the greater uptake of autonomous cars results in less pedestrian deaths overall (which sources within the article state is likely) then surely, to promote the uptake (and so an overall decrease in pedestrian deaths) in this rare situation the vehicle occupants should be sacrificed.

  18. Just as I would never buy a car without airbags, I would never buy a car which did not prioritise me in an accident. This is because of what action that car may take if I am in it with my family, friends etc. If something happened where the car decided to choose an action which leads to the death of one of these while I survived I would feel more guilty than if I was at the wheel. Therefore I think the system should prioritise the occupants of the car no matter what, the ensure that consumers are confident and feel safe using it.

    1. you make a fair point, which agrees with surveys undertaken by sources within the article. However, your point of view does not consider a situation where you were traveling on your own and multiple pedestrian/ other road user deaths would occur because of your survival. In this case, you would surely feel as much guilt as if a vehicle you owned lead to the death of friends/family? Thanks for the response.

  19. I think that the potential harm from the prioritising other road user has not been considered. What would the car do if a pedestrian deliberately stepped in front of the car to cause it to swerve? New laws regarding pedestrian responsibility for car crashes would need to be introduced to ensure that if a pedestrian caused a crash they were responsible. Things such as the mental state and age of the pedestrian would then have to be considered (children, elderly, are they responsible for their own action if they are not mentally able?). Would drunk people then be allowed near roads due to the risk they may step out/fall into the road and cause a crash? The complexity of this leads me to believe that the amount of time needed

    1. I agree new laws would have to be developed which is why the legislation introduced by government bodies is so important. As you suggested this may have to involve laws regarding the responsibility of pedestrians as well as drivers/vehicle occupants for road safety.
      The point you make about drunk people is an interesting one. This would definitely have to be considered, especially if autonomous cars began to replace taxi services in towns and cities. I personally believe that to begin with at least, a drink-drive limit will apply to autonomous cars (for one occupant at least) as the system would require supervision and potentially, engagement in emergency situations. Thanks for your response.

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