Self-driving cars are looking to be a reality for New Jersey drivers in the near future. However, questions are now being raised as to how these cars will react when faced with situations where they will have to make split-second decisions to protect their occupants.
The industry was buzzing recently when a representative of Mercedes-Benz stated that their self-driving cars will base decisions on how best to save the lives of the occupants of the cars, reports Car and Driver. This means that when faced with a choice, the car would choose to sacrifice a pedestrian or other vehicle in order to protect the passengers riding in it.
Given the fact that human error plays a role in 94 percent of accidents, it is no surprise that technology such as this is being developed. But it raises both ethical and legal questions about how accidents and their aftermaths would play out. Other carmakers are also working on similar technology, but both Volvo and Audi have indicated that they will assume full legal responsibility for any deaths or accidents resulting from their self-driving cars.
Shortly after that story was reported, according to Business Insider, Mercedes-Benz spoke out to clarify that the previous comments by the company’s manager of driver assistance systems and active safety were erroneous. The company’s intent, it said, was to produce technology that makes cars safe enough that situations where a choice between which lives to save would never even have to happen. Its self-driving cars would operate in such a manner that the risk of being in an unavoidable accident would be extremely low. The cars, representatives stressed, would not choose the lives of their occupants over the lives of anyone else on the road.