The 2016 online moral survey involving different scenarios that both human drivers and self-driving cars may face had very interesting results that could expound on the moral challenges that these models may need to overcome before they are considered roadworthy.
The survey, dubbed Moral Machine, is based on an antique moral dilemma called the Trolley Problem.
Both these moral problems pose very difficult questions. Would you choose to take the life of one person if this could save more people? But is one life any less valuable than two?
As self driving cars look to take over the roads, they would inevitably be faced with scenarios that could require this type of judgment. Would your car be able to make the right choice in such an instance?
How would manufacturers enable your car to understand this problem and make the correct decision every time? Different societies value animals in unique ways. Could self driving cars be tweaked to suit region-specific culture and maintain the same values that a human diver could?
It poses major structural and technical problems that could prevent the rollout of fully autonomous self driving cars until a comprehensive solution is found. Semi autonomous technology is already thriving in today’s market, with popular new additions bound to change the way people approach driving.
Tesla’s proprietary self parking system has reduced the likelihood of collisions for drivers. Volvo’s plan to rollout a semi autonomous car that refuses to let drunk drivers stay on the road could prove to be an even bigger step for self driving cars.
The model will feature sensors that monitor a driver’s concentration levels, pulse rate and eye movements, as well as other factors, to determine whether they are roadworthy. This is designed to reduce the likelihood of any drunk driving, with the car finding a secure position off the road to park.
Even though there are still challenges in design and implementation of self driving cars, the interest and level of investment set out to developing a viable and roadworthy model suggests that this future could be closer than projections seem to place it.
Should Volvo’s innovation prove successful, we could finally find a solution to the challenges associated with drunk driving. While it could cause choppy driving and affect traffic, it will inevitably reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers under the influence.
Whether or not fully self driving cars are able to take the road remains to be seen, but their impact on helping address certain problems will continue to be felt.