One day soon, autonomous cars will be forced to make moral decisions

The Trolley Problem is a very well-known ethics dilemma about actively killing one or sometimes even more persons in order to save more persons. The problem can occur in situations involving autonomous vehicles when the vehicle realizes that there is no way to prevent a collision, the computer of the vehicle should analyze which collision is considered to be the least harmful collision.

Wiseman and Grinberg propose a system for a real-time estimation of vehicle accident potential damages with the aim of facilitating autonomous vehicle’s embedded computer system to come to the least harmful possible decision if it realizes that an accident is unavoidable. The system analyzes all the possible crashes so the autonomous vehicle will make a decision what the least destructive option is.

The system suggested by Wiseman and Grinberg puts into practice a method to evaluate the likely harmfulness of each sort of collision using Spatial Data Structures and Bounding Volumes and, subsequently, to decide which course of actions would be the less harmful and, therefore, should be chosen by the autonomous vehicle.

IMAGE SOURCE: Almotive; Steve Jurvetson

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