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Serious questions remain about self-driving cars and crash avoidance

Automakers have made tremendous strides in safety over the last decade such that vehicle occupants now stand a much better chance of not only surviving car accidents, but also walking away with less severe personal injuries.

As encouraging as this has been, it's likely that things are going to change even more over the next decade. That's because many automakers are now in the process of developing self-driving cars, meaning those that chauffeur people to their various destinations and are essentially autonomous when it comes to real-time traffic decisions.

While the safety record of self-driving cars has been largely good so far, it cannot be said that they will ever be 100 percent accident-proof.

Indeed, some experts are now raising the interesting point as to the degree to which ethical considerations will need to enter into discussions about self-driving cars and their crash avoidance programming.

Specifically, they are pointing out how automakers will soon be called upon to answer very important questions as to whether a self-driving car should be programmed to protect the lives of vehicle occupants at all costs, minimize the loss of any life or even decide at random.

The ultimate decision on this matter could have resounding effects for automakers, as the decision to potentially sacrifice the lives of vehicle occupants for the greater good may actually serve as something of a disincentive for consumers.

One possible way to find an answer as to how self-driving cars should be programmed for crash avoidance, say experts, could come from gauging public opinion to learn more about what society finds acceptable.

However, they also argue that such efforts would need to take a seemingly endless number of variables into account, including whether children are present in the car, or whether the imminent crash will involve a motorcycle or moped, to name only a few.

It will be interesting to see what answers, if any, are discovered in the coming years.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you or a loved one were seriously injured in a car accident caused by the actions of a negligent motorist.

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