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Ethics Experts Think We Should Slow Down Autonomous Cars

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Nissan conducts on-road autonomous vehicle testing in EuropeA future full of self-driving cars seems to be moving towards us faster than the speed of light. Manufacturers are churning out the technology needed to guide our cars down the road with little to no input from the driver. The legislature is also currently looking at a proposal that would make putting one of these vehicles on the road to test drive easier than ever. But could we be moving a bit too fast? A team of professors at Carnegie Mellon University thinks so.

Philosophy professors David Danks and Alex John London argue that there are too many variables when it comes to the experience of driving on American roads for the public and the government to pass over the driving reins anytime soon. The professors propose that the government approach self-driving cars in the same way that the Food and Drug Administration approves a new drug. When a new medicine is created well it can help a lot of people, but if something is done incorrectly there is a possibility of a lot of harm as well. That is also true with self-driving cars, because taking human error out of driving can save lives but if the systems are not truly tested and prepared for every conceivable driving scenario lives can be lost.

The two professors published their opinions and proposed a new testing system in an issue of IEEE Intelligent Systems. According to Jalopnik, the team believes that the current legislation making its way through Congress is geared more towards benefiting the automakers instead of making the technology safer (surprise, surprise) and the US can remain competitive with autonomous technology if we do it right instead of just doing it fast. We hope that the industry and the government will do what they most to keep Americans safe while helping this exciting technology move forward.

News Source: Jalopnik and Carnegie Mellon University