Institut für Kognitionswissenschaft

Institute of Cognitive Science

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08. May 2018 : Minimizing harm at all cost—innocents, self-sacrifice and moral intuitions. This study reinforces the necessity of social debates on implementing moral values in autonomous vehicles.

New publ.:

Bergmann LT, Schlicht L, Meixner C, König P, Pipa G, Boshammer S and Stephan A (2018). Autonomous vehicles require socio-political acceptance — An empirical and philosophical perspective on the problem of moral decision making. Front Behav Neurosci 12:31.

This study examines the issue of implementing moral decisions in autonomous driving vehicles from an empirical and philosophical perspective.

In an empirical study, we investigated what factors people recognize as relevant in driving situations. The participants experienced unavoidable dilemma situations with human-like avatars of different ages and group sizes and in a variety of circumstances and had to decide who was to be spared. Furthermore, the influence of sidewalks as potential safe harbors and a condition implicating self-sacrifice were tested. Results showed a strong tendency to prioritize reduction of harm over other potentially relevant factors. However, this shows that the norms recently suggested by the German Ethics Commission for Autonomous Driving are in conflict with subjects intuitive behavior.