Fully autonomous cars may never be allowed on many public roads, according to BMW’s special representative to the UK, Ian Robertson.
Speaking at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Summit, Robertson highlighted BMW’s leading role in developing self-driving systems, but conceded that it may never be morally acceptable to leave the decision for unavoidable accidents to a machine. “Imagine a scenario where the car has to decide between hitting one person or the other — to choose whether to cause this death or that death,” he said. “What’s it going to do? Access the diary of one and ascertain they are terminally ill and so should be hit? I don’t think that situation will ever be allowed.”
BMW already has more than 40 vehicles testing on public roads running 660-mile (1000km) journeys routinely. However, Robertson revealed that, while the majority of the trips are completed without problems, the engineer on board has to intervene on average three times.