Autonomous Vehicle Ethics, The Trolley Problem and Beyond

Ryan Jenkins, David Cerny, Tomas Hribek (eds.)

"A runaway trolley is speeding down a track" So begins what is perhaps the most fecund thought experiment of the past several decades since its invention by Philippa Foot. Since then, moral philosophers have applied the "trolley problem" as a thought experiment to study many different ethical conflicts - and chief among them is the programming of autonomous vehicles. Nowadays, however, very few philosophers accept that the trolley problem is a perfect analogy for driverless cars or that the situations autonomous vehicles face will resemble the forced choice of the unlucky bystander in the original thought experiment.

This book represents a substantial and purposeful effort to move the academic discussion beyond the trolley problem to the broader ethical, legal, and social implications that autonomous vehicles present. There are still urgent questions waiting to be addressed, for example: how AVs might interact with human drivers in mixed or "hybrid" traffic environments; how AVs might reshape our urban landscapes; what unique security or privacy concerns are raised by AVs as connected devices in the "Internet of Things"; how the benefits and burdens of this new technology, including mobility, traffic congestion, and pollution, will be distributed throughout society; and more.

An attempt to map the landscape of these next-generation questions and to suggest preliminary answers, this volume draws on the disciplines of philosophy, sociology, economics, urban planning and transportation engineering, business ethics and more, and represents a global range of perspectives.

Oxford University Press