As self-driving cars roar (silently, on electric engines) towards wide scale use, one team is trying to answer a very difficult question: when accidents inevitably happen, where should the computer look to for morality and ethics?
Car crashes are a tragic, but so far unavoidable side effect of modern transportation. We hope that autonomous cars, with their much faster reaction speed, virtually endless attention span, and boundless potential for connectivity, will dramatically reduce the incidence of such events. These systems, however, also come pre-packed with a fresh can of worms — pertaining to morality and ethics.
The short of it is this: while we do have laws in place to assign responsibility after the crash, we understand that as it unfolds people may not make the ‘right’ choice.