A survey by the Basingstoke based AA's found lots of us are not sure what driverless vehicles should do, in the event of a crash.
The motoring organisation's latest survey gave respondents a series of scenarios, to see what they'd prefer happen in certain situations.
These were the main highlights the report picked out as being important points to note:
- More than half (59%*) say that should they be the passenger in a fully autonomous vehicle, and it had no choice but to crash, it should put them at risk if the alternatives risked more lives according to a survey by the AA.
- Surprisingly, more people were willing to put themselves at risk of death if they themselves were the passenger, as opposed to a generic ‘passenger’ travelling in the car (54%).
- The AA-Populus Driver Poll of more than 21,000, found that one in 20 felt the vehicle should hit someone else. Respondents had the option to select a collision involving two children who had run into the road, or with two elderly pedestrians walking on the pavement.
- Highlighting the difficulty software developers will have over these decisions, many people felt they were unable to determine what action the car should take.
Jack Cousens is the AA's Head of Roads Policy - he says manufacturers have got a lot of hurdles to overcome to make sure these kind of cars are safe:
"Fully autonomous vehicles should be safer than a traditional driver.
"They will be able to read scenarios quicker, they will travel at the correct speeds and they should not find themselves in these situations.
"More than a third of people felt they couldn't bring themselves to make a decision - and that kind of highlights the real dilemma that car software programmers are going to have, when making this decision."
Edmund King, AA President, said:
“Autonomous cars should create opportunities for people who struggle to access consistent forms of mobility, like the elderly and disabled.
“These vehicles will have so much technology that one should never find itself in this kind of situation.
“Of those who could make a choice, a clear majority decided to put themselves in danger perhaps indicating they accept the risks and potential fallibilities of the technology.
“The Driverless Dilemma’ is a common question for programmers of autonomous vehicles, but the number of people who avoided giving a definitive answer shows this is a difficult ‘live or let die’ dilemma.
“Drivers and pedestrians will want to know that fully autonomous vehicles have been rigorously tested to ensure fatalities are prevented and scenarios like these are avoided.”