Self-driving cars shouldn’t have to choose who to protect in a crash

Christoph von Hugo, Mercedes’ manager of driver assistance systems, active safety, and ratings, appeared to push this vision of the future of more fully autonomous vehicles in a recent article in Car and Driver. “You could sacrifice the car, but then the people you’ve saved, you don’t know what happens to them after that in situations that are often very complex, so you save the ones you know you can save,” he said. “If you know you can save at least one person, at least save that one. Save the one in the car.” (Mercedes has since said that Hugo was “quoted incorrectly” and that “[f]or Daimler it is clear that neither programmers nor automated systems are entitled to weigh the value of human lives. Our development work focuses on completely avoiding dilemma situation by, for example, implementing a risk-avoiding operating strategy in our vehicles.”)