Who to save? Driverless cars will have to choose.

 

November 25, 2017

Imagine this: a driverless car is cruising down the road when a group of pedestrians walks in front of it. In that moment, the car's algorithms have to make a choice, to either sacrifice the driver and save the pedestrians, or sacrifice the pedestrians and save the driver.

Most people agree the car should do the greatest good for the greatest number of people, and save the group of pedestrians, according to research by Azim Shariff, assistant professor of psychology and social behavior. But people are much less likely to want to buy any car "in which they and their family member would be sacrificed for the greater good," Shariff told USA Today.

This creates a problem for society because driverless cars are expected to be much safer than conventional vehicles, and consumer fears could slow adoption of the new technology.

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