MargieH

Autonomous vehicles

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Just read an article in our Ely News about the dilemma which may face drivers of Autonomous vehicles (AVs). There were things I'd never thought about such as:

.....in the event of a potential accident, what happens if the car is faced with the option of saving itself and its occupants, 'knowing' the only way to do this might be to hit a pedestrian?

.... or, it could avoid the pedestrian but put its 'driver' and passengers at risk by swerving into oncoming traffic?

In a US survey, most people think an AV should sacrifice its passengers to minimise harm in an emergency, by doing things like swerving to avoid a group of pedestrians. However the subjects also said they would rather be a passenger in an AV that protected them no matter what, even if it meant putting other motorists or pedestrians at risk!

These problems will somehow have to be solved before they can enter the mainstream market en masse.

I just thought this was an interesting subject even though it's about the future father than the past.

What does anyone else think?

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But what about the greater good/lesser evil .... one passenger versus a group of children on the road?

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Isaac Asimov pondered this problem about robotic responsibility some 60 years ago. He offered the 'three laws of robotics' in an attempt to protect mankind from accidents and from robots taking over. Not looked it up yet so hope my memory is right.

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A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

PP, Not sure if this actually helps with the dilemma, though

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Margie - no, it does not give an answer. just saying that the problem has been around and a mountain of books written about robotic responsibility for decades. It is a catch 22 situation really. Can't see an answer, unless cars are completely segregated from other road users..

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I hope someone somewhere will find an answer as AVs will surely happen in the future. How would one deal with insurance claims, I wonder....

If Nottstalgia is still going in 10 - 20 years time, there will be posts about this subject I'm sure, perhaps with people thinking fondly about when you could actually drive a car yourself!

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If Nottstalgia is still going in 10 - 20 years time there will be people posting that the forum is nothing like as good as it was back in good old 2016.

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Was it an AV that chap was driving when he was killed in America the other day? Something about the cars sensors blocked by sunlight and it took him under a semi...........

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NBL. Yes, it was an AV. All I can say is. I don't want one. Murphies law: if anything can go wrong it will. Usually at the worst time.

Murphy was an optimist!

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But, with respect, the 'bomb robot' mentioned above is not an automonous vehicle; it is remotely controlled by humans, so the robot laws don't apply in this case.

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Good point, Margie. Problems seems to me that sometimes we, (and robots) could be faced with a decision in which somebody is going to get hurt no matter what you do. Then what?

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LL, Humans make those difficult moral decisions with all their past experiences and attitudes coming into play, often automatically. But an AV would have to be programmed by people who may - consciously or not - program in their own beliefs about 'the right thing to do" in certain situations.

I believe most drivers would automatically swerve to avoid a child running into a fast moving busy road - whether there was oncoming traffic would be secondary in their thoughts. Would an AV do this I wonder.... or would it just do an emergency stop, risking being rammed in the back by the following car...

Like PeverilPeril said..... maybe there would have to be very secure highways for AVs only. When we travel on the M42 between the M6 and M40, this 'managed' motorway is quite hypnotic when all the lanes of traffic are travelling at - say - 50mph and no-one is overtaking. Perhaps this is what it will be like..

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^^^^^Didn't someone suggest a train like system where AVs just joined a line of other AVs all going in the same direction.

Would there be an automatic override where by in the event of an emergency the human driver's actions would take priority.

Going back to the chap who died in America I read that he was watching a 'film' something he should not have been doing and so never saw the accident coming.

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I understand computer controlled trains run on the Docklands railway in London. But of course with a train the only emergency action a human or computer could take is to hit the brakes very hard, with a car/bus/lorry it can also swerve at the same times as braking which complicates matters a lot, & things could/would happen the computer has never thought of..

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If the car/bus/lorry computer gets a virus & goes berserk or freezes then it could spell trouble. I can imagine an out of control car charging up & down Derby road causing chaos & mayhem. Wonder if the cops will have a remote kill switch they could press?

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The technology is there to slow cars down,think about in pit lane on race tracks,there is a speed limiter sending signals to the car engine telling it not to go above a certain amount of RPM,can never understand why the police dont use it when persuing cars in a chase,after all its only an electronic interupter

 

Rog

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You might have a point there NBL plus they would get more time to fight real crime if catching the motor vehicle "crimes" was so easy, but then again are they interested in catching proper criminals? might involve chasing them on foot or even get into a scrap

 

Rog

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