Lundgren, Björn Hansson, S. O. & M. Belin | 2021
Philosophy & Technology 34: 1383–1408
The introduction of self-driving vehicles gives rise to a large number of ethical issues that go beyond the common, extremely narrow, focus on improbable dilemma-like scenarios. This article provides a broad overview of realistic ethical issues related to self-driving vehicles. Some of the major topics covered are as follows: Strong opinions for and against driverless cars may give rise to severe social and political conflicts. A low tolerance for accidents caused by driverless vehicles may delay the introduction of driverless systems that would substantially reduce the risks. Trade-offs will arise between safety and other requirement on the road traffic system. Over-reliance on the swift collision-avoiding reactions of self-driving vehicles can induce people to take dangerous actions, such as stepping out in front of a car, relying on its fast braking. Children travelling alone can violate safety instructions such as the use of seatbelts. Digital information about routes and destinations can be used to convey commercial and political messages to car users. If fast passage can be bought, then socio-economic segregation of road traffic may result. Terrorists and other criminals can hack into a vehicle and make it crash. They can also use self-driving vehicles for instance to carry bombs to their designed places of detonation or to wreak havoc on a country’s road system.