Advance Car-Crash Planning: Shared Decision Making between Humans and Autonomous Vehicles

D.M. Shaw*, C.O. Schneble

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this article we summarise some previously described proposals for ethical governance of autonomous vehicles ('smart cars'), critique them, and offer an alternative solution. Rather than programming cars to react to crash situations in the same way as humans, having humans program pre-set responses for a wide range of different potential scenarios, or applying particular ethical theories, we suggest that decisions should be made jointly between humans and cars. Given that humans lack the requisite processing capacity, and computers lack the necessary ethical capacity, the medical paradigm of advance care planning can be retooled for this new context. Advance car-crash planning provides a way to combine humans' ethical preferences with the advanced data processing capacities of computers to enable shared decision making in collision situations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number75
Number of pages9
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Smart cars
  • Ethics
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Decision-making

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