Scientific study examines morality of self-driving car maneuvers involving pedestrians

It’s a question asked many times by philosophy professors, autonomous car engineers, and even the former hosts of Top Gear: if a self-driving car is barrelling towards a pedestrian in the road and has the option to swerve and put other pedestrians in danger, which alternative should it choose?

The results of a study released Tuesday show deep divisions in how the public feels, too.

According to, a study published in Risk Analysis: An International Journal asked this question of 872 respondents, and while there was some consensus in certain situations, many had a hard time deciding, especially in the wake of the Uber self-driving development car crash in Arizona in March.