|Image courtesy of onedio|
|Image courtesy of Mercedes-Benz|
While not implicitly stated, von Hugo's answer does imply that Mercedes-Benz's autonomous vehicles will run over a group of pedestrians if it means saving the occupants inside the car, or as Jalopnik's Raphael Orlove so eloquently puts it: "My dude. Holy shit. You know what you’re saying there, right? You’re saying that a Mercedes S-Class or whatever, driving down the road, will happily if not gleefully run over a child if it guaranteed saving the caviar-guzzling millionaire inside. Not just a child. An orphan. A group of orphans. A group of sick, orphans with leprosy."
Again, this goes back to the idea that there really is no correct answer to the "Trolley Problem." For a car manufacturer, any answer given will shovel bad PR its way. Save the pedestrians? Why is your company's car killing its customers to save random people? Save the occupants? How could you let your autonomous vehicle become a rolling death machine? In the end, someone is going to be upset and someone is going to get sued.
So, readers, I pose the question to you: if you were in charge of programming the brain of a new autonomous vehicle, how would you try and solve "Trolley Problem?"
So it would seem that as I was writing this article, Mercedes-Benz has clarified that some of von Hugo's comments in the Car and Driver interview were left out. Mercedes' official stance on the problem is "...neither programmers nor automated systems are entitled to weigh the value of human lives." In short, Mercedes-Benz is now also side-stepping the question along with other auto manufacturers.