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Self-Driving Response

Decent Essays
Response Paper 2
As companies such as Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, and many others continue to advance towards the goal of self-driving cars, one cannot help but yearn for the day where they no longer have to deal with the morning commute. The stress of deciding whether to speed through the yellow light or to slow to a stop will be behind us. This is something the car can decide for you based on calculations involving your speed and distance from the light. However, in the instance that a collision is unavoidable, there are no calculations that can be used to concretely determine whether the car should swerve left into a little girl or right into someone’s grandmother. Who, then, is responsible for making these decisions? This is the issue Patrick
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In today’s world of manual driving, one would probably drive faster than the speed limit in the case of an emergency. Would an autonomous car programmed to follow the laws and regulations of driving have the situational awareness to justify speeding? Perhaps an emergency “speed to the hospital” mode could be installed, but that could give rise to a whole new set of issues. In another scenario, imagine a two-lane road with the cars in both lanes traveling in opposite directions. Suddenly, a squirrel runs out into the middle of the lane. In the choice between harm to oneself and other humans versus harm to a squirrel, it is likely that most humans would opt to sacrifice the squirrel. On the other hand, the self-driving car might be programmed to slam on its breaks, possibly resulting in a crash with the human drivers behind it. If there were no oncoming traffic, a human driver could simply swerve to the other lane to avoid the squirrel, whereas a driverless car that is autonomously following the laws of traffic may be prohibited from crossing the double yellow line that divides the two lanes. It is situations like these that highlight the key issue of how a self-driving car should react when ethics and law
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