Ethics Youth Council: Advocating for Pedestrian Safety in the World of Autonomous Vehicles

In our fifth episode of the Ethics Youth Council Bonnie Liu, co-captain of the 2017-2018 Ann Arbor Greenhills School Ethics Bowl team, talks with Kathy Griswold, a longtime pedestrian safety advocate.

Kathy and Bonnie discuss Kathy's 2018 Michigan High School Ethics Bowl case, which explores the implications of autonomous vehicles on the balance between pedestrian and government rights at all levels, as well as current in pedestrian advocacy and engagement. They begin with a grounding in the subject of autonomous vehicles, discussing the current issues, such as uniform vehicle code, recent high-profile accidents and how Michigan stacks up compared to other states. From there, they delve into the ethical issues each presents, such as proposed legislative interventions that would improve safety by standardizing vehicle requirements, but would require the federal government to wade into policy areas typically reserved for the states.

Beyond current events and background on the topic, Kathy and Bonnie also highlight the role civic engagement plays on these issues, and the need to get more people involved in the discussion beyond just engineers, busineesses like Uber or programmers to understand a broad spectrum of needs and considerations in developing this new technology. As Kathy puts it, developing safe autonomous vehicles isn't just relevant for engineers: it should be relevant for all of us, even if we rarely engage with them right now.