The goal of this paper is to analyse the practical and ethical implications of the introduction of driverless robotic vehicles (DRVs) to society. An overview of the technology will be presented, including a synopsis of its development and the catalyzing events that have brought it to where it is today, on the brink of being introduced to the public market. Next, military applications and the morality of combat ready DRVs will be examined. Then, the effects that DRVs will have on health and safety will be given due consideration, as DRVs arguably will have the greatest net benefit in this area. Finally, some additional benefits of the technology will be provided as a jumping-off point for further reading into the topic. The hope of this paper is to show that, with responsible application, driverless vehicle technology will be an overall benefit for society.
Overview of Technology
Since the initial development of the automobile, new technology has been continually introduced to make driving easier and less technically involving. From automatic transmission and cruise control, to more recent features such as active parking assist, these technologies may have had different objectives in their implementation, but they all ostensibly share a common feature: they make driving easier. Early protoypes of autonomous vehicle technology included electronic highways which used magnets or rails to keep vehicles where they are supposed to be (Ingraham), but currently, the most advanced forms of DRVs combine a variety of technology, and are able to travel on conventional roads and highways, or even off-road.
Never before have we been so close to having a completely autonomous self-driving automobile available to the public. As...
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... Ziff Davis, Inc. 24 November 2013
Smith, Bryant W. "Managing Autonomous Transportation Demand." Santa Clara Law Review 52.4 (2012): 1401-1422.
Strawser, Bradley J. "Moral Predators: The Duty to Employ Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles." Journal of Military Ethics 9.4 (2010): 342-368.
Thrun, Sebastian. "Sebastian Thrun: Google's driverless car." 31 March 2011. TED.com. TED Talks. 23 November 2013
—. "Toward Robotic Cars." Communications of the ACM 53.4 (2010): 99-106.
Urmson, Chris. Google Official Blog. 7 August 2012. 23 November 2013
Wikipedia.org. DARPA Grand Challenge. 22 September 2013. 23 November 2013
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