Autonomous or ‘driverless’ cars and disability: a legal and ethical analysis.
‘Driverless’ or autonomous cars have been in existence for decades but, more recently, policy moves have been made towards supporting the expansion of their use on public roads. Both the EU and UK have announced research into the technology alongside reviews of relevant law and policy. This article focuses on one very specific aspect of the debate; the use of autonomous cars to support the independent life of disabled people. While focusing on this one particular issue, it raises important ethical and legal questions around both the wording of key definitions and the fundamental rationale behind the employment of these systems. It is argued that the current definition of the concept of ‘driver’ is now obsolete in the face of technological progress.