The Decision Dilemma for Self-Driving Cars
There’s no denying the fact that autonomous technology is on its way and we’ll see an incredible development over the next few years as we move from cars that we drive with some assistance technologies inside toward those cars that can make every drive for you. The programming involved in these cars will have to be capable of making decisions on the road and sometimes those decisions will involve whether to save the owners of the vehicle or the pedestrians that are crossing the road in front of the vehicle that carries you where you need to go.
While we certainly wouldn’t want to be in a vehicle that’s programmed to put us in peril when we ride, we also don’t want to have a rolling missile that targets those who are on the road can could be hurt. Another aspect of the drive is the space needed around the vehicle on the road. If the amount of space between vehicles was what is recommended no one would ever get where they need to go because there would be too much space between vehicles. For that reason, it makes sense for the programming to reflect some of what we offer as humans on the road.
How Do We Solve These Problems?
We don’t want our vehicles to make moral decisions for us, but when it comes to the choices of which lives to save or the safe distance to follow, this can be a tough choice for the programmers to add to the system of the cars that drive themselves. The only way to figure out how to program these cars and allow them to make the right decisions is to test them and program them to allow for the drive and then put them on the road in real-world situations.
Right now, we’re still in the testing phase and will continue to be in the testing phase for several years. Even when self-driving vehicles are allowed on public roads, we’re still going to demand the car companies continue to develop the programming and the systems that are needed to make sure these vehicles can be safe on the road. We’ve gone from a time when these vehicles needed perfectly marked roads to be able to take over any of the driving to a system that can read the cues on the road and understand situational decisions, which is a huge step forward.
Are we going to be able to cut down on the 30,000 people that die in car crashes each year? Are we going to see a time when the drive to and from where we need to go is greatly reduced because there are fewer accidents and stoppages along the way? We will as long as we allow the autonomous technology to continue to develop and grow for the driving experience we want to have in the future that will give us the drive we’re searching for when it’s time to get out on the road and have the ride to where we need to go.