In a city 15 years from now, someone will cross the street unexpectedly and step out in front of a self-driving car. The car will be forced to make a split-second decision–swerve into a lamp post on the end of the curb, potentially injuring its passenger? Or stay the course and collide with the pedestrian, injuring him, or even taking his life?

How to design for this ethical dilemma is a question plaguing automakers and autonomous vehicle companies right now. So for our series Provocation, Co.Design posed this scenario to several design firms and challenged them to come up with a solution. One firm created a moral steering wheel; another imagined a flying inflatable airbag that would fling itself between the car and pedestrian. The Seattle-based firm Artefact has created a connected digital safety grid, where infrastructure sensors, pedestrians’ devices, and the whole network of self-driving cars work together as a system to ensure that the cars themselves never have to make any kind of moral decision at all.


Read more about this technology on the Co.Design website here.