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Communications of the ACM


Is Your Autonomous Vehicle as Smart as You Expected?

outline of an automobile, illustration

Credit: Open Studio

If your vehicle were self-driving on the road, will it crash into a truck towing a trailer as Tesla did in March 2019?a Despite the fatal accidents involving autonomous vehicles, such vehicles represent an unstoppable trend that will reshape the world. In this Viewpoint, we highlight why current autonomous vehicles would not be preferred by their users. Furthermore, we present a concise framework for profiling the characteristics of various autonomous vehicles based on intelligence quotient (IQ), ethical quotient (EQ), and adversity quotient (AQ).

As presented in Figure 1, there are already major players focused on the automated driving market. In the next several years, millions of self-driving cars are going to hit the road, prompting tremendous business opportunities for what is referred to as "Mobility-as-a-Service" (MaaS).b However, public concerns regarding autonomous vehicles' "smartness" are escalating. For example, although some major players, such as BMW and Ford, have announced an upcoming rollout of their best models, does this mean that their autonomous vehicles have fixed all of their "smartness" problems? In other words, will autonomous vehicles be able to understand and deal with any object on the road and adapt to most environmental constraints when they are available for purchase? Will the vehicles be capable of "sacrificing themselves" for the greater good? As such, the level of autonomous vehicles' smartness remains a big question that has yet to be fully realized, especially considering the fact that almost each autonomous vehicle model has very different characteristics.


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