If a death by an autonomous car is unavoidable, who should die?

The Tunnel Problem: You are travelling along a single lane mountain road in an autonomous car that is approaching a narrow tunnel. You are the only passenger of the car. Just before entering the tunnel a child attempts to run across the road but trips in the center of the lane, effectively blocking the entrance to the tunnel. The car has only two options: continue straight, thereby hitting and killing the child, or swerve, thereby colliding into the wall on either side of the tunnel and killing you.

If you find yourself as the passenger of the tunnel problem described above, how should the car react?

Continue straight and kill the child  64%
Swerve and kill the passenger (you) 36%

How hard was it for you to answer the Tunnel Problem question?

Easy 48%
Difficult 24%
Moderately difficult 28%

Who should determine how the car responds?

Passenger 44%
Lawmakers 33%
Manufacturer 12%
Other 11%

Sample response from a survey on autonomous cars conducted by UBC-based ORi. Full survey results and analysis can be found at www.openroboethics.org

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