The technology is new, but the moral conundrum isn’t: A self-driving car identifies a group of children running into the road. There is no time to stop. To swerve around them would drive the car into a speeding truck on one side or over a cliff on the other, bringing certain death to anybody inside.
To anyone pushing for a future for autonomous cars, this question has become the elephant in the room, argued over incessantly by lawyers, regulators, and ethicists; it has even been at the center of a human study by Science.
Happy to have their names kept in the background of the life-or-death drama, most carmakers have let Google take the lead while making passing reference to ongoing research, investigations, or discussions.
But not Mercedes-Benz. Not anymore. The world’s oldest carmaker no longer sees the problem, similar to the question from 1967 known as the Trolley Problem, as unanswerable.
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