The trolley problem version of autonomous vehicles

Yair Wiseman, Ilan Grinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The Trolley problem is a very well-known ethics dilemma about actively killing one or sometimes even more persons in order to save a number of persons. The problem can occur in autonomous vehicles when the vehicle realizes that there is no way to prevent a collision, the computer of the vehicle should analyze which collision is considered to be the least harmful collision. Method and Result: In this paper, we suggest a method to evaluate the likely harmfulness of each sort of collision using Spatial Data Structures and Bounding Volumes and accordingly to decide which course of actions would be the less harmful and therefore should be chosen by the autonomous vehicle. Conclusion: The aim of this paper is to emphasize that the “Trolley Problem” occurs when the human driver is replaced by a robot and if a moral answer is given by an authoritative and legitimate board of experts, it can be coded in autonomous vehicle software.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
JournalOpen Transportation Journal
StatePublished - 13 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wiseman and Grinberg.


  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Bounding volumes
  • Car accidents
  • Embedded real-time systems
  • Spatial data structures
  • Trolley problem


Dive into the research topics of 'The trolley problem version of autonomous vehicles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this