In recent times, there has been more talk about self-driving cars as a couple of them have gone on test drive on carefully selected roads in some U.S. States.

An article titled: “How will self-driving cars make life or death decisions?” published on the website of the World Economic Forum amplified one major concern of using self-driving cars –  their ability to make the right decision in a life or death situation.

According to the article, “nearly 60 per cent of us would take a ride in a self-driving car,” hence the reason why all need to be set in order before they are deployed for use.

Image: MIT 'Moral Machine'

Image: MIT ‘Moral Machine’

A research undertaken by the MIT which was featured in the article moved to answer this important question of how the cars would act in a life or death situation by putting people behind the wheel of a self-driving car and force them to make ethical decisions in potentially deadly scenarios.

What researchers will make of the results gotten from this research will go a long way to determine how safe self-driving cars would be for passengers, pedestrians and other road users when it is finally deployed, hopefully soon.

Though another research by McKinsey & Company says that crashes could fall by 90 per cent with the use of self-driving cars, it is still of utmost importance to solve this aspect that has already been identified as potentially dangerous.

Self-driving cars at one point or the other while driving on the road will be faced with decisions that will result in fatalities – regardless of their actions. Even for humans the ethics of this are muddled.

Author: Yemi Olarinre