Autonomous cars should stop for pedestrians, right? For a moment, imagine that world where the cars are so safe that they won’t injure someone. In this utopia, if a pedestrian wants to cross the street, they can just step in the road and all the cars would avoid them or stop creating truly mindless traffic.
Civilization at some level depends on courtesy and civil behavior, but this breaks down pretty quickly. While you would graciously hold a door for someone or say excuse me when stepping in front of someone face to face, once wrapped in the steel of an automobile, that disappears. Suddenly someone merging into your lane is the enemy, how dare they?
Today, if you step into traffic, there are likely consequences you will regret. They might stop, they might not (hopefully because they don’t see you). An autonomous car will try to avoid you, but there are limits. MIT experimented to find out what choices humans would morally make if they had to kill the pedestrian or passenger. I imagine that in most real world situations, the cars would be able to avoid pedestrians.
My question is twofold; Would you step out into traffic knowing the car would stop? Would it make any difference if that vehicle had a human passenger you were inconveniencing versus a machine with no passenger?