That Blue Square Thing

AQA Computer Science GCSE

This page is up to date for the new AQA 8525 syllabus for exams from 2022.

Ethics - The use of autonomous vehciles

By autonomous vehicles, we mean driverless cars and other similar vehicles, including, I guess, drones.

This is a new section added to the unit, so I don't have as much on it yet.

PDF iconAutonomous Vehicles - slides from class

Some updates from April 2022.

Highway Code: Watching TV in self-driving cars to be allowedwiki link - update on interim law in the UK, April 2022

Self-driving car stopped by San Francisco policewiki link - what happens if an AV needs to be stopped by the police?

This video is also in one of the articles above.

What happens if you fall asleep in a self-driving car?wiki link - BBC video from 2019.

It would be useful to know the levels of technology involved - and that true autonomous vehicles are some time away yet. Then this part of the unit is really about the legal and ethical issues involved with AVs.

The classic ethical issue that you'd be expected to present is "how do you program the software" if there's a chance of a collision? In particular, who do you chose to kill? Make sure you have this prepared, with an understanding of the technology to go with it.

Any time an AV causes an accident it gets headlines of course. That's because the technology is new and, in many people's eyes, unproven. It's almost science fiction. So a single crash killing one or two people gets news headlines. The counter-argument is that, of course, many people die everyday on the roads. There are many more crashes caused by human error.

Part of the aim of developing AVs is to reduce the impact of human error. How much safer do they need to be? Are we expecting self-driving cars to be perfect in comparison? How many lives saved by AVs is enough?

BBC Click programwiki link - this deals partly with AVs - towards the beginning of the article. It's a YouTube link so you'll have to watch it at home. From 2020.

PDF iconDriverless Cars - some newspaper headlines - these are a little old now