Human vs Machine
In a world changing very rapidly there are many new things coming in the near future. The word autonomous doesn’t really ring a bell in most peoples heads, most people know the other word for it, “self driving”. Self driving cars have been in the works for many years and many people are excited for it and can’t wait for them to come out, should you be excited or worried?
Autonomous vehicles are the thing of the future and they seem like they will be amazing and have so many benefits to our world today. The thing is not many people think about the smaller questions that these automotive manufacturer, they don’t seem to have the answer yet because there is not been enough research done. There are many moral questions that are in play when getting into a self driving car, is the car going to protect you because you paid for the car, and is it going to protect you and your occupants in the car? What if your driving down the road and a kid jumps out into the street, is the car going to swerve away from the child into oncoming traffic to save the Childs life meanwhile risking your life and maybe a car in another lane or is the car going to hit the kid saving your life and the car in the other lanes life? Small decisions like this are huge when thinking about getting a self driving car. In a case of an emergency will you be able to take control of the wheel in a split second? Probably not.
Many studies have been done, trying to figure out what people would want the car to do when faced with different types of situations that are very challenging and require a lot of thinking. When you are buying the Self driving car are you buying that car knowing that it is going to make the decisions for you and should you be allowed to say what the car should do in those types of situations. In an article from the Washington Post it talks about this difficult study they sent out. “The study, published in Nature, identified a few preferences that were strongest: People opt to save people over pets, to spare the many over the few and to save children and pregnant women over older people. But it also found other preferences for sparing women over men, athletes over obese people and higher status people, such as executives, instead of homeless people or criminals. There were also cultural differences in the degree, for example, that people would prefer to save younger people over the elderly in a cluster of mostly Asian countries.” These studies proved that people will tend to save younger peoples lives rather than an older person because they have more of a life to live. Also people chose to save animals and would rather swerve off of the road and maybe hitting a pole on the side. What would you want to do if you were driving? You would probably choose to spare the life of the animal and try and slam on the breaks or even swerving off of the road.
Volvo a new competitor in the Self driving car market have come out in an article published to scientific America saying this ” Self-driving pioneers, in fact, are starting to make the switch. Last October, Volvo declared that it would pay for any injuries or property damage caused by its fully autonomous IntelliSafe Autopilot system, which is scheduled to debut in the company’s cars by 2020. The thinking behind the decision, explains Erik Coelingh, Volvo’s senior technical leader for safety and driver-support technologies, is that Autopilot will include so many redundant and backup systems—duplicate cameras, radars, batteries, brakes, computers, steering actuators—that a human driver will never need to intervene and thus cannot be at fault. “Whatever system fails, the car should still have the ability to bring itself to a safe stop.” Therefore no human can be at fault for a crash this should be implemented in every single self driving car manufacture, crashes are pretty much inevitable and no matter what safety protocols are put in place there will always be some type of crash or accident.
In a perfect world every person would wish they could have a safe road with no crashes but we do not live in a perfect world and with the making of these self driving cars is a closer step to making our roads safer. In a report to Consumers Report it was stated that “In the far distant future, there’s little debate that self-driving cars have the potential to drastically reduce, or possibly even eliminate, crashes. In the interim, as self-driving cars navigate traffic alongside unpredictable human drivers, things will be murky.” This will be a big factor with self driving cars if everyone in the world was in a self driving car it would be almost impossible for crashes to happen but with self driving cars on the road with human drivers there will still be accidents. Most crashes are a result of human error and until all cars are self driving and everyone is in one the roads will still not be as safe as they could be. The algorithms in the car predict what the other cars around them should be doing but if someone not in a self driving car swerves at an unpredictable time it will cause a crash. If there are all self driving cars on the road they would work on the same wave length and they would be able to know what each car was going to do because they have same algorithms and can predict each other.
When it comes down to getting a self driving car you should know what you are buying into and how your car will protect you. You should not buy something and not know how it will protect to you. To have the safest roads you need to know that your car will keep you safe and those who are in your car safe.
Johnson, C. (2018, October 24). Self-driving cars will have to decide who should live and who should die. Here’s who humans would kill. Retrieved October 26, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2018/10/24/self-driving-cars-will-have-decide-who-should-live-who-should-die-heres-who-humans-would-kill/
Monticello, M. (n.d.). Will Self-Driving Cars Make Our Roads Safer? Retrieved October 26, 2020, from https://www.consumerreports.org/self-driving-cars/will-self-driving-cars-make-our-roads-safer/