This past week, the US Department of Transportation released safety guidelines to auto manufacturers regarding the production of autonomous and semiautonomous cars. This is broken down by the New York Times here. One of the points that caught my eye was the “Ethical Considerations” section, and an example it gave, “should a car be programmed to better protect its occupants or other drivers in a crash?” In this situation, the autonomous car supposedly would have to be able to calculate the worth of the people inside and outside the car, and then based on those values, make a decision on whom to better protect. Are the lives of the 5 passengers inside the car more valuable than the 6 pedestrians on the sidewalk? Could this also become a point of competition between manufacturers? It’s reasonable that one would prefer to buy from the manufacturer that promises to always put the passenger first. It seems that most people are in favor of the car making the decision that minimizes the loss of life, but it also makes people wary of buying an autonomous car for themselves.