Ethical rules demanded after Uber death

TWU calls for mandatory ethical rules for autonomous vehicles after Arizona woman dies

Ethical rules demanded after Uber death
Tony Sheldon has called on government to require ethical programming for autonomous vehicles


Mandatory ethical rules for autonomous vehicles should be adopted by Federal and state government before any further autonomous vehicle technology is adopted, Australia’s Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) says.  

The call comes after a pedestrian was struck and killed by an Uber-owned self-driving car in the US state of Arizona yesterday.

Early reports in the aftermath of the incident say the car, which had a human operator at the wheel at the time, was travelling nearly 40 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone when it hit the pedestrian, who was walking her bicycle outside of a crosswalk.

Uber has since temporarily pulled its self-driving cars off the roads where it has been testing them in four cities.

As previously reported by ATN, the company had also been using self-driving trucks to make deliveries in Arizona via the Uber Freight app, which had previously connected human drivers with selected regions.

TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said introducing the rules would ensure that any driverless vehicle technology met specific standards.

"This should include ensuring that human health and safety takes precedence over damage to property or animals," he said.

"It should also ensure in unavoidable crash situations that software algorithms do not distinguish between individuals based on age, gender, race, etc."

Sheldon also referred to the TWU’s recent submission to a Senate Select Committee on the future of work and workers, which called for early regulation of the technology for fear of being led down a "dangerous and morally hazardous path".

"We are already doing this by allowing technology giants to use apps to strip away rights from workers in the on-demand economy," he said.

"We cannot allow this to occur by bringing in technology that has the capacity to decide who or what to hit during vehicle crashes."

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