The possibility of outrage over driveless cars

When a Mercedes-Benz official suggested last year that it would be better for a driverless car to save its driver even if that meant sacrificing multiple other people, the ensuing media coverage and public indignation quickly prompted the company to do damage control.

The episode highlighted some of the difficulties of gauging how the public will react to and accept driverless cars, Azim Shariff, assistant professor of psychology and social behavior, told Science Magazine.

"Public outrage is a really difficult thing to predict," Shariff said. "If what happened with Mercedes is any indication, the public resistance to nonutilitarian cars could end up being a big deal."

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