Ever since the invention of writers, information has been collected in order to point out the liability, in the case that if a self driving car is being crashed, who shall be responsible for the cause (Hawkins, 2017). One of the most controversial and debatable case in this regards of holding the liability in case of crashing of self driving cars was the case of Google's self-driving cars. The car got crashed due to the reason that the car saw a sandbag that was being surrounded by a storm drain. In order to avoid any hazard or accident, the car took itself on the center lane. But eventually, after a time period of three seconds, the car got crashed by a bus. The self-driving car was Lexus SUV, and the test driver had a view that the bus driver shall slow down the speed of the bus, in order to avoid any accident or collision. Such an accident raised various issues as well as the question regarding the matter which is associated with the fact that who must be held responsible for such crashes and who shall be liable to pay the compensation as well as damagers if such vehicle of autonomous nature gets crashed. The essay presented below shall be examining the issues and questions that have been raised after such an incident. The essay also highlights the challenges and worries that the company is going through in order to answer such questions.
However, the accident was not being recorded for the first time. Even then it raised so many questions were because of the fact that it happened due to a non human error. The company6 has the aim of taking these cars with such technology to almost 50 countries, across the world. But witnessing of such inconsistent regulations in the systems proved to be a hindrance in the success of such technology, across the globe. However, the Obama administration passed an order to the Transportation Department in order to offer safety and testing standards. It has been argued that if a human driver is being replaced by a non-human or computerized driver, the liability for such accidents and crashes are to be held by the company that is responsible for designing and developing the hardware as well as the system. The owner of the car shall have no obligation and responsibility to be charged in such case. The makers of the card shall be responsible as well as accountable for such actions.
There has been certain emergence in this regard of self driving cars. For instance, Volvo has announced in this regard that if any damages and destructions shall be caused by its autonomous system of IntelliSafe Autopilot, which shall be released by the company in the year 2020, then the company shall be liable as well ready to pay for such injuries and destruction. The number of cars is being increasing rapidly which can be witnessed through the fact that big companies like the Audi, BMW and many other companies are developing such cars that shall be able to parallel park. Also, Volvo is coming up with a semiautonomous car for driving on the highway. However, some of the automakers are of the view that there must be an involvement of the human drivers in order to take the command of the steering in case of any visibility issues or change in the climatic changes. The automakers argue that it is a safe option for the company of the manufacturers of the driverless cars to already announce that the company shall be responsible for paying the charges and compensation for the account of any damages or injuries (Iozzio, 2016).
Ethics laid down the code of conduct that describes that whether the actions performed by the business, is right or wrong for the society (Akrani, 2011). The above stated discussion has highlighted viewpoints of the automakers that the company involved in the manufacturing of the system and hardware shall be held responsible for such crashes, instead of the owner of the car. There are certain actions of the companies that are considered legal but not ethical, and vice versa. In this case, in which the Google's self driving car is being crashed, raised questions on the ethical code of conduct of the companies involved in such self driving or driverless cars. For the company, it became a matter of utmost importance that needs to be answered as of who was considered to be responsible in such case. Witnessing the entire case through a logical point of view, the company was worried regarding the goal attainment of the company to take such advanced technological cars in over 50 countries, across the world. But as a part of conducting ethical actions, the company took over the actions in order to reduce such incidents in the coming future by eliminating the factor of inconsistency in the regulation and controls of such cars. The ethical principle of deontology states the fact that the morality of an action must be based on the norms which have to be based on those actions that are either right or wrong, irrespective of the consequences (Philosophybasics, 2017). In other words, it means that the progressives or the initial actions must be ethical. The business or company must not take the actions on the basis of making the consequences ethical. In this case, according to the company, the systems and hardware installed in the car were highly updated as well as strong enough to eliminate and mitigate the risk of any accident. But soon after the accident, the company realized that the car was lacking consistency due to which the car was not able to handle the situation and collided with the side of a bus. However, after the happening of such accident, preventive measures were being taken by the Obama administration to come up with more secured and tested safety measures. So deontologically, the action mentioned above shall be considered wrong, because the company must have checked before regarding the safety measures. Another ethical principle Utilitarianism, states that the best decision to make in any situation comes from the one that is advantageous to most of the people (IEP, 2017). In this case of Google's self driving car, such action is considered to be completely unethical. This can be viewed in two perspectives. Firstly, it caused damage to the company's asset by carting and, secondly, it could have caused damage and injury to the general public, on the road. So on the basis of the ethical principle of utilitarianism, the company proved to be unethical because the decision has the potential to cause damage to the majority (BusinessDictionary, 2017). Another ethical principle of virtue, states the action that is considered of high morality and standards. In this regard, it can be said that the company was ethical (BBC, 2017). This is so because right after the accident occurred, the company understood the need to update the inconsistency in the system and regulations. Also, the Transportation Department was requested to lay down more effective testing and safety measures. Apart from this, the companies who are involved in the manufacturing of self drive or driverless cars had the viewpoint that there must be human intervention to control the steering in extreme cases and also they believed that the damages and injuries caused by such cars is the liability of the company that has manufactured the system and the hardware (Philosophybasics, 2017). The contract theory of ethics states that the obligation and accountability of a person come from the contract that has been signed between the two parties (IEP, 2017). In this case, the company as well as the insurance company of the car must be in the contract, wherein it must be clearly stated that under what circumstances, who in either of the parties are responsible and accountable for the damages and compensation (Ethics Unwrapped, 2017).
The articles have aimed to bring out the focus on to whom to make accountable and responsible when a self drive or driverless car is being crashed. The article represents various viewpoints of such car manufacturers, as well also carries the point that apart from Google, the other companies which are involved in such car manufacturing are being very much concerned towards this ethical question. Talking about the adherence to the ethical principles, the case is not considered being ethical on the basis of the utilitarianism and deontology. But when it comes to virtue and contract, the case seems to be adhering to the ethical principles. However, there has been an involvement of many companies in this regard to manufacture such cars. Although, such companies are taking due preventive measures to avoid such crashes in the coming future.
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Hawkins, A. J. (2017, February 1). Google’s self-driving cars just got way better at driving themselves. Retrieved from Theverge.com: https://www.theverge.com/2017/2/1/14474790/google-waymo-self-driving-car-disengagement-dmv-california
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