Rodríguez-Alcázar, Bermejo-Luque & Molina Pérez: “Do Automated Vehicles Face Moral Dilemmas? A Plea for a Political Approach”

How should automated vehicles (AVs) react in emergency circumstances? Most research projects and scientific literature deal with this question from a moral perspective. In particular, it is customary to treat emergencies involving AVs as instances of moral dilemmas and to use the trolley problem as a framework to address such alleged dilemmas. Some critics have pointed out some shortcomings of this strategy and have urged to focus on mundane traffic situations instead of trolley cases involving AVs. Besides, these authors rightly point out the political nature of the most interesting debates involving AVs. However, in our view, they do not offer an adequate account of the distinction between ethics and politics and still see their proposals as contributions to the ethics of AVs. We argue that many of the interesting questions about how AVs should behave, both in emergency and other situations, are of political, and not moral, nature.

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