(Philip Toscano/PA)
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Most motorists would want children’s lives to be prioritised ahead of their own in a driverless car crash..

In a survey more than 21,000 AA members were asked what they would want a fully automated car to do if two children ran into the road and the car couldn’t stop.

There were three possible scenarios.

Driverless car crash – which would you choose?

59% chose swerving into the back of a parked lorry endangering their own life.

4% would want their car to carry straight on and run over the children.

2% chose swerving to run into an elderly couple on the pavement.

More than a third (34%) said they would prefer not to give their preference. The AA claim this highlights the ethical dilemma faced by driverless car developers.

driverless cars makes roads saferEdmund King, the organisation’s president, said: “Of those who could make a choice, a clear majority decided to put themselves in danger, perhaps indicating they accept the risks and potential fallibilities of the technology.

“The driverless dilemma is a common question for programmers of autonomous vehicles. The number of people who avoided giving a definitive answer shows this is a difficult live or let die dilemma.”

Many believe driverless cars to be safer than those driven by humans because sensors, cameras and radar systems will allow them to respond faster to events.

In November, the Law Commission opened a consultation on what new road rules should be introduced to enable driverless cars to be used.

The questions include whether an automated vehicle should be allowed to mount the pavement or cross a white line to let an emergency vehicle through.

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  1. this may be a major flaw in the driverless car make up i.e the ability to anticipate hidden dangers e.g. picture this, a rural side street on a saturday afternoon; a human driver might see the football bouncing and two children kicking it on the pavement, and might anticipate a third child suddenly emerging from behind a parked transit van to then be run over by the driverless car (the child didn’t hear the electric vehicle of course). On whose conscience is the child’s death? The passive owner of the car reading a book whilst this all happened who has put his trust in a machine?

  2. Is there really a dilemma? Where there is a choice in a road traffic accident and personal injury is unavoidable, then where possible, the suffering should be borne by the parties in proportion to their negligence. Those who run into traffic must suffer the consequences of their actions and the resulting anger of parents should be directed at themselves for failing to adequately train their children.


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