Whether the choice was between their own car fatally crashing itself to save two, three, or ten pedestrians, “what we found was that the large majority of people strongly feel that the car should sacrifice its passenger for the greater good,” says Bonifan. “Even when people imagined themselves in the car, they still say that the car should sacrifice them for the greater good. And even when people imagine being in a car with a family member or even with their own child, they still said the car should kill them for the greater good.”
The numbers here were stark. In one survey, where the choice was between saving the car’s passenger or saving a crowd of ten pedestrians, more than 75 percent of respondents agreed that sacrificing the autonomous vehicle’s passenger was the more moral choice. In short, “most people agree that from a moral standpoint, cars should save the [maximum number of people] even if they must kill their passengers to do so,” Bonifan says.