ethical autonomous vehicles

Matthieu Cherubini - Design Interactions, Royal College of Art

Many car manufacturers are projecting that by 2025 most cars will operate on driveless systems. While it is valid to think that our roads will be safer as autonomous vehicles replace traditional cars, the unpredictability of real-life situations that involve the complexities of moral and ethical reasoning complicate this assumption.

How can such systems be designed to accommodate the complicatedness of ethical and moral reasoning? Just like choosing the color of a car, ethics can become a commodified feature in autonomous vehicles that one can buy, change, and repurchase, depending on personal taste.

Three distinct algorithms have been created - each adhering to a specific ethical principle/behaviour set-up - and embedded into driverless virtual cars that are operating in a simulated environment, where they will be confronted with ethical dilemmas.

Reference for Scenario #1 (bus on bridge): Noah J. Goodall - Ethical Decision Making During Automated Vehicle Crashes

Capture of the software


Humanist Algorithm

Profit-Based Algorithm

Protector Algorithm

case study