Pages

Sunday, October 11, 2015

When philosophy takes the wheel - The Dilemma of Teaching Ethics to Self-Driving Cars

For self-driving cars, this has been recast as the "tunnel problem." Imagine that an autonomous vehicle is traveling on a single-lane mountain road and about to enter a tunnel, when a child inadvertently crosses into its path just inside the entrance so that the car has to make a split-second decision. Does it continue straight and hit the child? Or does it swerve and hit the tunnel, injuring or killing the car's occupants?

The day after getting a ride in Google's self-driving car in Mountain View, California, I attended an event at Mercedes-Benz's North American R&D facility in nearby Sunnyvale. Among several topics covered throughout the day, Stanford professor and head of the university's Revs program Chris Gerdes gave a presentation that delved into the subject of ethics and autonomous cars.

Gerdes revealed that Revs has been collaborating with Stanford's philosophy department on ethical issues involving autonomous vehicles, while the university has also started running a series of tests to determine what kind of decisions a robotic car may make in critical situations.

The Dilemma of Teaching Ethics to Self-Driving Cars

No comments: