From Trolley to Autonomous Vehicle: Perceptions of Responsibility and Moral Norms in Traffic Accidents with Self-Driving Cars
Published April 5, 2016 by SAE International in United States
Annotation of this paper is available
Autonomous vehicles represent a new class of transportation that may be qualitatively different from existing cars. Two online experiments assessed lay perceptions of moral norms and responsibility for traffic accidents involving autonomous vehicles. In Experiment 1, 120 US adults read a narrative describing a traffic incident between a pedestrian and a motorist. In different experimental conditions, the pedestrian, the motorist, or both parties were at fault. Participants assigned less responsibility to a self-driving car that was at fault than to a human driver who was at fault. Participants confronted with a self-driving car at fault allocated greater responsibility to the manufacturer and the government than participants who were confronted with a human driver at fault did. In Experiment 2, 120 US adults read a narrative describing a moral dilemma in which a human driver or a self-driving car must decide between either allowing five pedestrians to die or taking action to hit a single pedestrian in order to save the five. The “utilitarian” decision to hit the single pedestrian was considered the moral norm for both a self-driving and a human-driven car. Moreover, participants assigned the obligation of setting moral norms for self-driving cars to ethics researchers and to car manufacturers. This research reveals patterns of public perception of autonomous cars and may aid lawmakers and car manufacturers in designing such cars.
CitationLi, J., Zhao, X., Cho, M., Ju, W. et al., "From Trolley to Autonomous Vehicle: Perceptions of Responsibility and Moral Norms in Traffic Accidents with Self-Driving Cars," SAE Technical Paper 2016-01-0164, 2016, https://doi.org/10.4271/2016-01-0164.
- Hood, J., “Google Defends Its Self-Driving Cars' Accident Rate,” Consumer Affairs, May 12, 2015. Available: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/google-defends-its-self-driving-cars-accident-rate-051215.html
- Barry, K., “Safety in Numbers: Charting Traffic-Safety and Fatality Data,” Car and Driver, May 2011. Available: http://www.caranddriver.com/features/safety-in-numbers-charting-traffic-safety-and-fatality-data
- Lin, P., “The Ethics of Autonomous Cars,” The Atlantic, Oct 8, 2013. Available: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/10/the-ethics-of-autonomous-cars/280360/
- Beiker, S., “Legal Aspects of Autonomous Driving,” Santa Clara Law Review, 52(4): 1145-1156, 2012.
- Venkatesh, A. and Brown S.,”A Longitudinal Investigation of Personal Computers in Homes: Adoption Determinants and Emerging Challenges,” MIS Q, 25(1): 71-102, 2012.
- Malhotra, N., Shotts, K. and Melvin, S., “The Nut Behind the Wheel’ to ‘Moral Machines’: A Brief History of Auto Safety,” Stanford Graduate School of Business Case No. ETH4, 2014.
- Chipman, I., “Exploring the Ethics Behind Self-Driving Cars,” Stanford Graduate School of Business, 2015. Available: http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/exploring-ethics-behind-self-driving-cars
- Marcus, R. B., “Moral dilemmas and consistency,” The Journal of Philosophy, 177(3): 121-136, 1980.
- Foot, P., “The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of the Double Effect,” Oxford Review, 5, 1967.
- Hevelke, A. and Nida-Rümelin, J., “Responsibility for Crashes of Autonomous Vehicles: An Ethical Analysis,’ Sci. Eng. Ethics, 21(3): 619-630, 2014.
- Goodall, N., “Ethical Decision Making During Automated Vehicle Crashes,” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2424: 58-65, 2014.
- Złotowski, J., Proudfoot, D., Yogeeswaran, K. and Bartneck, C., “Anthropomorphism: opportunities and challenges in human- robot interaction,” International Journal of Social Robotics, 7(3): 347-360, 2015.
- Reeves, B. and Nass, C., The Media Equation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
- Parasuruman, R., Sheridan, T. and Wickens, C., “A Model for Types and Levels of Human Interaction with Automation,” IEEE Transactions of Systems, Man and Cybernetics - Part A, 30(3): 2000.
- Payton, D., “An architecture for reflexive autonomous vehicle control,” In Robotics and Automation. Proceedings. 1986 IEEE International Conference on, 3: 1838-1845, 1986. IEEE.
- Coeckelbergh, M., “Moral Appearances: Emotions, Robots, and Human Morality,” Ethics and Information Technology, 12(3): 235-241, 2010.
- Malle, B. F. and Scheutz, M., “Moral competence in social robots,” In IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Engineering, Science, and Technology, 30-35, 2014. Chicago, IL: IEEE.
- Barrett, J. and Johnson, A., “The Role of Control in Attributing Intentional Agency to Inanimate Objects,” Journal of Cognition and Culture, 3(3): 208-217, 2003.
- Breazeal, C., “Toward Sociable Robots,” Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 42(3): 167-175, 2003.
- Malle, B., Scheutz, M., Arnold, T., Voiklis, J. et al., “Sacrifice One for the Good of Many? People Apply Different Moral Norms to Human and Robot Agents,” HRI ’15, 117-124, 2015.
- Public Opinion Survey Traffic and Public Safety Lafayette Parish, 2001. Available: http://www.lafayettela.gov/TrafficAndTransportation/SafeLight/SiteAssets/Files/WalkerAssociatedSurvey101101.pdf
- Streff, F. and Kostynuik, L., “Survey of Public Perception of Traffic Law Enforcement in Michigan,” Transportation Research Institute UMTRI-2000-37, 2000. Available: http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/1338
- Stern, D., A Survey to Determine the Influence of Traffic Accident Severity and Selected Variables on Seat Belt Usage by the General Public, 1977.
- Greene, J. D., Sommerville, R. B., Nystrom, L. E., Darley, J. M. and Cohen, J. D., “An fMRI investigation of emotional engagement in moral judgment,” Science, 293(5537): 2105-2108, 2001.
- O’Hara, R.,”Wording Effects in Moral Judgment,” Judgment and Decision Making, 5(7): 547-554, 2010.
- Ulfarsson, G., Kim, S. and Booth, K., “Analyzing fault in pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes in North Carolina,” Accident Analysis and Prevention, 42(6): 1805-1813, 2010.
- Broggi, A., Bertozzi, M., Fascioli, A. and Sechi, M., “Shape-Based Pedestrian Detection,” Proceedings of the IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium, 215-220, 2000.
- Gavrila, D., “Pedestrian Detection from a Moving Vehicle,” ECCV, 2000.
- Young, K. and Salmon, P., “Sharing the Responsibility for Driver Distraction Across Road Transport Systems: A Systems Approach to the Management of Distracted Driving,” Accident Analysis & Prevention, 74, 350-359, 2015.
- Stewart, A., “Attributions of Responsibility for Motor Vehicle Crashes,” Accident Analysis & Prevention, 37(4): 681-688, 2005.
- Atchley, P., Hadlock, C. and Lane, S., “Stuck in the 70s: The Role of Social Norms in Distracted Driving,” Accident Analysis & Prevention, 48: 279-284, 2012.
- Gerstenberg, T. and Lagnado, D. A., “Spreading the Blame: The Allocation of Responsibility Amongst Multiple Age nts,” Cognition, 115(1): 166-171, 2010.
- Folkes, V., “Consumer Reactions to Product Failure: An Attributional Approach,” Journal of Consumer Research, 10(4): 398-409, 1984.