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Bill Ford Says Ethics, Regulations Will Be The Tricky Part Of Autonomous Cars

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Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford appeared at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC to talk about some of the big issues that would need to be solved by federal and state governments in order to pave the way for autonomous cars.

Ford suggested that ethical and regulatory questions, such as “does the vehicle make the decision to save you, the occupant, or to save 10 pedestrians if the right thing might be to hurt you the occupant,” will be far more difficult to solve than actually developing autonomous cars.

Such ethical quandaries “all have to be thought through and no one manufacturer is going to be able to program in one ethical equation that is different than the others,” Bill Ford said. “I mean, that would be chaos. And imagine the fun the trial lawyers would have with that too.”

The business executive and great-grandson of Henry Ford is also concerned about the unemployment that could stem from self-driving car technology. “There are three-and-a-half million truck drivers,” Ford said. That’s one of the first industries likely to be radically altered by the automation of the automobile, followed quickly by transportation services like taxis and other forms of ride-hailing.

“If you have autonomous trucks… how about all the Uber drivers, the Lyfts, deliveries on FedEx and UPS? I suppose it’s no different than a conversation around artificial intelligence, but it’s all coming,” Bill Ford said. “It’s really hard to find a place or a forum or an institution that seems to be thinking through all these ramifications in a way that’s coherent and provides some answers.”

Ford Motor Company plans to put a fully-autonomous vehicle on the road in 2021, initially for use solely by ride-hailing and ride-sharing services.

(Source: The Detroit News)

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Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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