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Ethical dilemmas ahead for self-driving car developers

California motorists who have been following the development of driverless cars may be interested to know that there may be thorny ethical dilemmas ahead for manufacturers, regulators and even consumers. In a study that was published in June 2016, researchers surveyed nearly 2,000 people regarding various scenarios that might arise when traveling in an autonomous vehicle. The study found a large discrepancy between how people thought a self-driving car should react versus what type of vehicle they would themselves purchase.

An example of the type of scenario presented to drivers was one in which a car with two occupants is traveling along a road that it cannot leave due to barriers on either side. Three pedestrians decide to cross the road ahead. The car must choose between hitting the barriers and potentially injuring the passengers or hitting the pedestrians. While 76 percent of survey respondents thought that the vehicle should opt for the decision that would take the fewest number of lives, 81 percent also said that they would prefer to buy a vehicle that would keep their family safest.

Experts say that this dilemma can be addressed through regulations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced plans to release updated guidelines in the summer of 2016.

Regardless of how this issue is resolved, self-driving cars are predicted to make roads safer and save more lives. However, until then, motor vehicle accidents will continue to seriously injure many people each year. A person who has been injured in a serious accident that was caused by the negligence of another motorist may want to have legal assistance when seeking compensation for the losses that have been sustained.

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