The trolley problem is a thought experiment that puts a person in a lose-lose situation and forces them to react. The same concept is being applied to autonomous vehicles to help determine how they should react in an accident.
This year's Shanghai Motor Show has not ruled out banning promotional models that normally accompany cars on show stands, after models' racy attire at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show was chastised for having "a negative social impact."
Autonomous cars are piloting their way into the wide philosophical sea of ethics. Right now the autonomous cars are unaware of this because the driver's will always comes first, but when we start getting cars that can overrule commands or choose a particular ethical outcome either without or in spite of driver input, we'll have a lot of decisions to make. Which means we have a lot of decisions to start considering right now.
Researchers from MIT and Berkeley have conducted a rather interesting study on the correlation between posture and behavior. While this normally wouldn't be of much interest, the study analyzed more specifically how a car's seating position can affect the driver's behavior, which we find to be a rather interesting hypothesis.
Our post on China's "Tiger mom" phenomenon was illustrated with that above picture; it's the Jeep Wrangler Dragon Design Concept at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show, accompanied by a booth professional. The model – her, not the Jeep – made a fair few friends in the Autoblog Comments section, but it turns out she and her kind attracted the ire of the Chinese authorities.