Will Cars Be Programmed to Kill?

Google Self-driving car

Like it or not, cars currently drive themselves around the country. Google’s self-driving car is the most ambitious project which has earned lots of press. But any consumer can already buy a Tesla, which has an autopilot feature for hands-free operation.

What will happen when these cars are in life-or-death situations? For example, if the car knows it cannot stop in time to avoid hitting a crowd of pedestrians, would it be programmed to crash its own driver into a wall?

The question seems far-fetched, but that’s one tiny example that the auto makers have to grapple with. We currently hold drivers responsible for what their cars do, except in some cases of mechanical defect. What will happen when the computer crashes into something? Who gets ticketed?

Even Google isn’t claiming that their cars are foolproof. They admit that their test cars would’ve crashed 13 times in 2015, if the human driver hadn’t taken control of the wheel. Yet they want to make a version without a steering wheel or pedals. Can you imagine being in the driver seat of a car, watching a crash about to happen, and having no controls to stop it?

The future is here. Buckle your seat belts!

Photo credit: Google Self-Driving Car

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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