Nick Rogers, head of motor at BLM, comments on the impact of self-driving cars as the Government is drafting legislation for their arrival on British roads. Nick's thoughts feature in an article in The Guardian today.
Nick discusses the ethical conundrum presented by the software. He estimates it will still be a decade or longer until the necessary United Nations global rules on cars are relaxed to allow fully autonomous steering and braking, even though the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill is being prepared in the current session of parliament, and is earmarked to be approved in the next. The problem is mainly one of ethics, rather than technology.
“There are a lot of issues to get over, including what’s often referred to as the ‘trolley bus’ conundrum,” he says.
“A person will never be blamed for causing harm if they swerve out of the way of an oncoming obstacle, even if they end up in the worst case scenario: ploughing into a queue of people waiting for a bus. However, when these decisions can be made rationally in micro-seconds, cars will have to decide whether it’s best to hit the obstacle or the queue of people. Whose protection should be prioritised…?”
Read the article in full on The Guardian’s website here.