(11) Issues of autonomous vehicles

Salient Ethical Issue

A salient ethical issue, refers to the most noticeable or important ethical issue. The salient ethical issue that is being addressed in this paper, is who is to blame when an autonomous vehicle kills a person. All the parties previously mention could have contributed to the result of an autonomous vehicle killing someone. A hypothetical situation would be posed describing a situation in which autonomous vehicle would kill someone. Before disclosing the way each party, could have influence the outcome. There is a hypothetical situation posed in Scientific America, which addressed the unavoidable outcome of loss of live. The situation starts off with an autonomous vehicle driving down a two-lane highway, caring a family of four. In which the sensor detects an object crossing the path, which ended up being a ball from a child. Whom has followed the ball onto traffic. This is where the processing unit, considers the different possibilities it could make. A solution may include swerving out the way, but in doing so, may result in the loss of life of those passengers and/or others. Or the vehicle continues its path, insuring the passenger’s safety, but not that of the child (Scientific America). This only one hypothetical situation, of many that researcher has posed.

Social Constraints and Issues

With every great invention, there is always a negative impact that come along with it. With the autonomous vehicles being slowly implemented into society, people are starting to see how much these vehicles could affect their lives. Millions of people had made a living, by providing services that require a person behind the wheel. Most noticeably, taxi driver and public transportation (bus, train, trollies, etc.). According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, these types of jobs consist nearly three percent of the workforce (LA Times). Which has come out to a rough estimate of five million people losing their job. Even though people would make the effort, to let companies know about the concern about autonomation, this might not help. In general, many companies are movie their workforce into autonomation; Which is cost effective. Which would leave many of their current workforce, out of the job market. But not everything looks gloomy, when implementing autonomous vehicles.

Every year in the United State, millions of individuals are injured and thousand die in car crashes. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, the annual United States road statistics state that over thirty-seven thousand people die in road crashes each year (ASIRT). The report continues to show how hundreds and thousands of children and young adult, are killed each year. With the implementation of autonomous vehicles, these statistics could change drastically. Many lives could be saved, but also could save the US billions of dollars each year. A graph provided by the Eno Center for Transportation, give an estimate of the annual economic benefit from autonomous vehicle. I wanted to highlight the amount different between ten percent integration, versus ninety percent integration. The first statistics shows that there will be around four million less deaths in the US. The second statistic that is surprising, was the amount that describes the economic cost of savings. The graph shows that there would be an estimated one-hundred billion dollars that US could save.


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