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Psychological roadblocks to the adoption of self-driving vehicles

Self-driving cars offer a bright future, but only if the public can overcome the psychological challenges that stand in the way of widespread adoption. We discuss three: ethical dilemmas, overreactions to accidents, and the opacity of the cars’ decision-making algorithms — and propose steps towards addressing them.

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Fig. 1: A schematic example of the ethical trade-offs that autonomous vehicles will need to make between the lives of passengers and pedestrians3.


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Support from the ANR-Labex Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse is gratefully acknowledged. I.R. is grateful for support from the Ethics & Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund.

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Correspondence to Azim Shariff or Jean-François Bonnefon or Iyad Rahwan.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Shariff, A., Bonnefon, JF. & Rahwan, I. Psychological roadblocks to the adoption of self-driving vehicles. Nat Hum Behav 1, 694–696 (2017).

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