Ethical Issues in Hybrid and Autonomous Vehicles. Eco-Car

For this assignment, you will select a topic associated with hyrbrid autonomous vehicles and ethics and write a brief ( 6 pages) report. Some possible topics might include

• Design of Driving Algorithm for Emergency Situations. As drivers, all of us hope a situation like this never arises. What if a pedestrian walks directly in front of our vehicle? Hitting a pedestrian likely has severe consequences but alternatives might put ourselves and passengers at risk of great bodily injury. Such choices are weighty when they fall on individual humans, but what are the ethical dilemmas at arise when we are designing an algorithm that controls the vehicle and makes choices for such situations? What are our responsibilities as an engineer?

• Tradeoff of energy efficiency versus safety. A hybrid vehicle offers many possibilities for improving fuel consumption efficiency which benefits both the individual user and society in general. However, some of methods for fuel efficiency may involve safety considerations. For example, allowing a vehicle that is slowing to a stop to come closer to the lead vehicle in front may allow for more gradual deceleration and greater fuel efficiency, but also may allow smaller safety margin. How should such tradeoffs be resolved?

• Privacy of individual movement data. V2X communications will inherently collect a great deal of user-specific information on an individual’s movements. What information should be used and for what purposes? It seems reasonable to use metadata to devise more efficient traffic routing which speeds overall throughput? But what if you have the choice between optimizing overall traffic throughput vs. an individual’s time to their destination? Should information be used to steer an individual on a route where past history indicates they have favored restaurants and stores? Should user preferences be shared with third party marketers?

• Optimal design of autonomous systems for safety versus efficiency tradeoffs. Is safety the overriding concern in design of autonomous vehicle safety or do other factors like economy and fuel efficiency play a role also? Adding more sensors might make a vehicle system safer but also might push the vehicle price past what is affordable by most potential users. Allowing shorter spacing between vehicles may improve fuel efficiency in some instances, but might also slightly elevate safety risks? What tradeoffs are ethical and in keeping with our responsabilities as engineers? These are just a few of the possible topics.

Full credit will be given for papers that relate the problem to the EcoCar project. Your paper should: • Clearly state the ethical problem or dilemma consider.

• Cite the relevant sections of one or more professional Codes of Ethics (e.g., IEEE, ACM, SAE, NSPE)

apply the guidance from these codes to the problem considered.

• Cite one or more outside references (books, journal, magazine or conference papers) which consider the problem and discuss the information learned.

• Present a clear analysis of the tradeoffs involved in the ethical problem, considering all points of view.

• Propose a solution to the problem presented, and justify your solution with support from ethical codes, your research and reasoning.

The paper should be written in complete sentences using proper grammar. References should be clearly cited, and directly quoted material should be clearly identified by quotes or indentation.

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