6.3 Case Study: Self-driving Vehicles

Course subject(s) 6. Risk Analysis & Safety Engineering

Ethical Issues behind Self-Driving Vehicles

Technological implementations in general come with their own set of values and risks. And indeed, it is prudent to address these risks as much as possible. An interesting dilemma arises however, when technology replaces actions that previous human beings performed; in this case, there is a quantifiable comparison to be made between the risk arising from that action when performed by a human versus the same when performed by automation technology.

The ethical debate here becomes more nuanced because on the one hand, it could be argued that automation could significantly reduce the likelihood of hazardous outcomes by eliminating human errors. However, an automated implementation places limits on how much moral/causal responsibility lies in the hands of the engineers.

In the following lecture, Prof Bert van Wee will discuss the underlying ethical issues behind an upcoming technological breakthrough: self-driving vehicles.

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Responsible Innovation by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://ocw.tudelft.nl/courses/responsible-innovation/.
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