Tesla’s Autopilot – Ethical Issues

Tesla’s Autopilot – Ethical Issues

News: In a series of lawsuits and a criminal case arising out of fatal Tesla accidents, Tesla faces its biggest challenge since launching Autopilot in 2015.

What are autonomous cars?

o An autonomous car is a vehicle capable of sensing its environment and operating without human
involvement. A human passenger is not required to take control of the vehicle at any time, nor is a human passenger required to be present in the vehicle at all.
o An autonomous car can go anywhere a traditional car goes and do everything that an experienced human driver does.

Ethical issues surrounding Autonomous Cars:

o In the case of any crash, it would arise an issue of accountability whether the car owner would be
accountable or the manufacturer of that vehicle.
o Self-driving cars are basically robots that have been programmed using algorithms. So, they are most likely to follow set rules or patterns in all cases.
o Some also argue that the best way for a self-driving car is to make an impartial decision in case of accidents. They must not discriminate between humans based on age, gender, or other parameters. They should always make the decision that causes the least impact.
o There is a problem if a car is hacked and programmed for killing. Also, problems related to the privacy of individuals. For example, what if the autonomous car is hacked by a cybercriminal and commanded to carry out an accident to implicate the driver?
o It will promote increased usage of vehicles at a time when the main objective is to reduce GHG emissions.
o When the vehicle finds an injured person or an old lady, will it stop to help them and display the qualities of compassion and empathy? Also will it stop by an accident and act as a good Samaritan if the need arises?

Way Forward:

o As the debate around Autonomous vehicles and ethics intensifies due to the increasing adoption of selfdriving cars, we hope that strict laws and regulations will be developed that can answer the questions in a correct and justifiable manner.

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