How to Train a Criminal: Making a Fully Autonomous Vehicles Safe for Humans Note

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The tireless advancement of computing and sensor technology has brought the dawn of the age of autonomous vehicles. This emerging revolution in transportation has the potential to save thousands of lives every year and untold sums in economic losses related to traffic collisions. There remain significant challenges technologically, morally, and legally before society will begin to reap these benefits. Like many technology revolutions the change will be gradual, and one of the most notable factors for autonomous vehicles is the continued presence of human drivers on the road Navigating the physical world is extraordinarily complex on its own and is compounded by human behavior. Human drivers do not obey all traffic laws all the time and regularly exhibit driving behavior that is not necessarily consistent with the goals of safe or efficient transportation. Thus, for at least a period of time, autonomous vehicles will find it exceptionally difficult-if not impossible-to coexist on the road if they attempt to rigidly adhere to the laws and regulations codified by the states and federal government. This Note advocates that autonomous vehicles be developed to strategically break the rules of the road so they blend more easily into the existing ecosystem of human drivers. The benefit of adopting this position will ameliorate the headwinds facing the adoption of autonomous vehicles by society. Autonomous vehicles, if given the chance, could usher in an era of unprecedented safety for road-based transportation.

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