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Vol.22, No.4, 15 ~ 31, 2019
Title
Who Should Live? Autonomous Vehicles and Moral Decision-Making
 
Abstract
The reduction of traffic accidents is a primary potential benefit of autonomous vehicles (AVs). However, the prevalence of AVs also arouses a key question: to what extent should a human wrest control back from AVs? Specifically, in an unavoidable situation of emergency, should an AV be able to decide between the safety of its own passengers and endangered pedestrians? Should AV programming include well-accepted decision rules about actionsto take in hypothetical situations? The current study (N = 103) examined individual/situational variables that could perform critical decision-making roles in AV related traffic accidents. The individual variable of attitudes toward AVs was assessed using the Self-driving Car Acceptance Scale. To investigate situational influences on decisional processes, the study’s participants were assigned to one of two groups: the achievement value was activated in one group and the benevolence value was triggered in the other through the use of a sentence completion task. Thereafter, participants were required to indicate who should be protected from injury: the passengers of the concerned AV, or endangered pedestrians. Participants were also asked to record the extent to which they intended to buy an AV programmed to decide in favor of the greater good according to Utilitarian principles. The results suggested that participants in the “achievement value: driver perspective” groupexpressed the lowest willingness to sacrifice themselves to save several pedestrians in an unavoidable traffic accident. This group of participants was also the most reluctant to buy an AV programmed with utilitarian rules, even though there were significant positive relationships between members’ acceptance of AVs and their expressed intention to purchase one. These findings highlight the role of the decisional processes involved in the “achievement value” pertaining to AVs. The paper finally records the limitations of the present study and suggests directions for future research.
Key Words
Autonomous Vehicles, Utilitarianism, Decision Making, Value, 자율주행차, 공리주의, 의사결정, 가치
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