The Ethics Behind Self Driving Cars

self driving cars future of technology intelligent

Driving Morality to the Edge, Self Driving Cars

Self driving cars are soon to become a common sight on UK roads. With the responsibility of driving taken out of the hands of the person behind the wheel, the concerns about how the car will react to ethical dilemmas has been a hot topic in recent news.

Automotive engineers are attempting to program new self-driving vehicles to make split second, ethically right decisions.

When following rules or laws do not provide an answer to an ethical dilemma, we rely on our morals to justify how we should act.(1) But how can a machine make the right decision when it comes to a serious ethical dilemma?


Benefits of Autonomous Vehicles 

benefits of intelligent smart self driving cars Autonomous vehicles will be fitted with state of the art technology designed to give the passengers a safe, comfortable journey without having to worry about other road users, road works and potential accidents. In the next couple of years, a Super Cruise feature should be available in some vehicles which enables the car to see the road. Using an array of sensors, lasers, radar, cameras and GPS technology, the car will be able to analyse it’s surroundings. (2)

Not only will vehicles be able to take over most of the driving but also be able to communicate.Vehicle to vehicle communication will change how traffic flows and even how highway’s are designed. (2) This new technology will alert the driver to any hazards on the road ahead and communicate this information with other road users, preventing accidents and congestion.


Self- Driving Concerns

Self driving vehicles could mean a significant rise in unemployment. People who work as bus, taxi, truck and delivery drivers could face unemployment with the development of autonomous vehicles. Self driving cars will be more cost effective, never need a break or to go on holiday and should not make any mistakes on the road. This would therefore make them superior to any human driver.

customer service in motor trade businesses what it needed faqRelying heavily on self driving vehicles could mean that we become lazy drivers and stop paying attention to the road ahead. Despite self driving cars being able to make fast decision on the road, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the driver should not be in control of the vehicle from a top level approach. The car will not be able to read your mind in terms of where you want to go or if you decide to re-route. This then will require you to take control again of the vehicle which requires you to have been paying attention initially. (3) With Super Cruise technology, the vehicle will require the driver to take control of the car if it detects a hazard ahead, so the machine will not be able to perform all types of road manoeuvres unassisted.

In the event of a self-driving car accident, where people have been injured or even killed, who would be held responsible. The driver, who might not have been able to change the outcome of the event or the manufacturer/ engineers who have preinstalled a particular set of moral codes which has caused the vehicle to manoeuvre in a particular way. (4)

Will your new self-driving car be programmed to sacrifice you in order to save others? People are debating whether self driving cars will be programmed to substitute your life, as the driver, in order to save people outside of the vehicle. This concerning ethical issue is sure to be raised further as the reality of autonomous vehicles heats up. (5)

smart cars making moral manoeuvres self driving navigating decisions

Making Moral Manoeuvres

Ethical dilemmas occur in all aspects of life. Making the right decision can often depend on a number of factors and the circumstances when the event occurs.

Even for human beings, understanding how to evaluate a situation and apply the right rule and therefore make the ethically right decision is difficult, let alone for a machine.

One clear example of an ethical decision an autonomous vehicle may face on the road, is if the car approaches a cyclist on the left hand side. Should the car move over to the middle of the road and put the passengers at greater risk or to remain close to the cyclist and potentially intimidate them, which could lead to an accident?

Google’s new autonomous vehicles claim to have software installed which will aid the vehicle to make the right decision. Three questions are presented to the machine.

  1. How much information would be gained by making this manoeuvre?
  2. What’s the probability that something bad will happen?
  3. How bad would that something be?.

If the risk outweighed the information gained, the car would proceed to make such a manoeuvre. The question is, what would the car do if the risk and information gained values were equal?(4)

According to recent reports from KPMG (the UK’s leading provider of professional services including audit, tax and advisor) self driving cars will lead to approximately 150 fewer deaths a year. There is no doubt that the introduction of autonomous vehicles on UK roads will reduce the amount of accidents that occur, but there is still concerns about leaving life or death situations in the hands of a machine. (8)

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The Evolution of the Electric Car Mechanic

Evolution of an Electric Car Technician

It was recently announced that the Plug In Car Grant is set to be extended until early next year. With a £5,000 financial incentive to buy an electric car, we’ve taken a look at what this could mean for mechanics in the UK.

Electric cars and other ultra low emission vehicles are becomingly increasingly common on UK roads. The main attraction of such cars for consumers, is the opportunity to save a lot of money on gas and maintenance. However an electric car is still an automobile with parts that inevitably will wear out and need to be replaced.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the demand for ultra-low emission vehicles is currently exceeding 10,000, almost four times higher than in 2014. There are currently around 35,705 ultra low emission vehicles registered in the UK, with experts claiming sales will continue to rise. (1)

Electric Car MechanicWhen electric vehicles were first brought to market in the UK, the only way to repair the vehicle or conduct any maintenance work, was to take it back to the manufacturer or to a specialist mechanic who would charge a considerable amount for the job, compared to the average garage.

With sales of electric and hybrid cars rising each year, mechanics in the UK might consider developing their skills further to offer services and maintenance such as repairs and MOTs on this cutting edge technology.

In addition, the more mechanics who can offer these services will mean the more competitive the price will become, benefiting the consumer. (2)

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Electric cars are more expensive to buy than their petrol and diesel counterparts, however the maintenance cost of the vehicle is said to be considerably lower. Unlike other models, ULEV’s do not have as many parts and fluids which could go wrong and need replacing. Apart from the need to change the battery after a number of years, the car should be able to save the owner a lot of money in the long run.

Like gasoline powered cars, electric cars will still need to undergo an MOT annually once they are over three years old. The test will be very similar to any other MOT and is performed by a qualified MOT tester.

The test will analyse whether the car meets roadworthy requirements and should usually last just over half an hour. The mechanic should check everything from the brakes, suspension and steering to the lights, horn and tyre pressure.(3)




Petrol and diesel engines have over one hundred moving parts which can all cause issues if they breakdown, whereas an electric car only has five or six moving parts within its engine and so the chances of a breakdown are  less likely. (4)

The smaller number of parts of an electric engine, also means that if the vehicle needs to be repaired, the maintenance is easier to do and should therefore be cheaper.

As most of the electronic features in the vehicle will be new and modern, the chances of them needing to be replaced are low. If the electronic devices, such as an assisted parking system, do break down, they should be covered by the car’s insurance company and so be easily replaced.




Roadside breakdown is a nightmare for every driver. Having to wait for a recovery vehicle on the road is annoying at the least but for electric car owners, this common driving issue can be a complete disaster.

Unlike other vehicles, if an electric car breaks down, the roadside recovery services might not have the right tools to fix the vehicle immediately or even have the skills to assess what has gone wrong in the first place. Their only option is to simply transport you to the nearest dealership or specialist for a repair. This can cost both time and money.

However as electric vehicles become more widespread, repair, recovery and maintenance services should improve and meet the rising demand. Hopefully with more mechanics and recovery services developing their skill set to accommodate such vehicles the cost should also come down. (5)

Becoming an Electric Car Technician As in any business, it is vital to future-proof your business and adapt accordingly. Developing your skills as a specialist in any industry will only benefit you and your company. According to the National Careers Service website, the average UK car mechanic makes approximately £20,000 a year. However those who specialise can earn an extra £5,000 annually. (6)

Artboard 1 Copy 6The job of an electric car technician involves using electric and hybrid technology to diagnose faults, conduct maintenance work and repair such vehicles. (7) Daily tasks include taking readings using a laptop or hand-held device connected to an engine’s electricians control unit, often found in newer vehicles, researching faults, using manufacturers’ circuit diagrams and specification manuals, retesting the system to ensure it is working efficiently and maintaining electronic ignitions, alarms, tracking devices, parking and reverse cameras and any other features in or outside the vehicle.

For mechanics who are interested in developing their skills and specialising in electric car maintenance there are a number of ways of doing so. If you are already working as an automotive technician and want to specialise in electric vehicles, consider additional training to advance in your present job. There are a number of training courses you can take to get your qualified such as a Level 2 Diploma in Auto Electrical and Mobile Electrical Competence or a Level 3 Diploma in Auto Electrical and Mobile Electrical Principles. For more information visit National Careers Service Direct. (8) If you are thinking about starting out as a mechanic consider becoming an electric car technician apprentice.

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How to Set Up a Motor Trade Business



The motor trade industry in the UK turns over a massive £64.1billion a year and has created over 770,000 jobs according to a recent report by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Setting up a successful motor trade business can be daunting. The motor trade industry is highly competitive, but if you do your research and understand the market you can set up a highly lucrative business.

Here are our 10 easy steps on how to successfully set up a motor trade business in the

Step 1: Research and Crucial Decisions

The first thing you need to do, if you are planning on setting up any business, is to do your research. In depth analysis of the industry can play a crucial part in deciding which type of business to set up. In regards to the motor trade industry, the type of business you could launch could vary considerably, from a small part-time valet to a second hand car showroom.

Having at least a basic understanding of car mechanics, vehicle value and industry trends will give you a huge advantage whichever business you decide to open.

Competitor research is a great way of finding out the where the best place to establish your business is. You should consider foot fall, proximity to other competitors and space before coming to a final decision.

blog-post-assets-cardkStep 2: Branding

Any successful business requires a strong, memorable name and branding. To begin to think of a good name for your business, you should consider what message you are trying to convey. Do you want people to think of you as a small family business or a quirky modern company?

Once you have picked a suitable name, you need to check if anyone else is already using it. You can do this be visiting or

For simple branding, think of three colours which compliment each other and incorporate them in advertisements, interiors and your logo. There are countless websites with further guidance and information on how to appear professional and visually appealing.

blog-post-assets-balanceStep 3: Funding and Finances 

The Government has a number of funds available for those looking to start their own business. To find out more information on funds which might be available to you visit

Often applying for such funds requires you to write a business plan. If you need help on writing a business plan please check out our handy guide: click here to read more.

If you have money saved up to invest in your company yourself make sure that you budget for any eventualities which might cost you money such as fines, refunds or tax.

To make sure you protect yourself and your business you should consider taking out appropriate business and/or motor trade insurance.

blog-post-assets-schStep 4: Tax

Register your business with HMRC, as a self-employed trader, you will now be responsible for filing annual tax returns.  So keep on top of your finances…what you have spent, what you have earned and everything in between.

It may be worth seeking the help of a bookkeeper or an accountant in the early days. Paying too much or too little tax could cause you a lot of problems.


Step 5: Motor Trade Insurance

It is a legal requirement to have motor trade insurance, so make sure this is in place before you start to trade. Think Insurance are specialists in this area and are always on hand to help new businesses get on their feet.

Motor trade insurance will protect both yourself, your business and your customers.

Note: Home insurance will often not cover a home motor trade business. Read more here.

blog-post-assets-think-SOCIALStep 6: Is Your Business Online?

A website can help a business in a number of ways. Customers will be able to find you and contact you, you will be able to offer discounts and vouchers and people will be able to rate and review your services.

In this day and age having a website is something a customer will immediately assume you will have and without one you risk being seen as unprofessional.

There are a number of great sites to help you quickly and simply set up a website such as Go Daddy, Moonfruit and Site Builder.

blog-post-assets-think-social2Step 7: Marketing and Social Media

To find and gain the right type of customers for your business it is important to think about marketing whether this is through advertisements, offers or social media.

Advertising your business online is a great way of gaining new customers. If you are an auto-trader for example you might want to consider using sites such as eBay and Autotrader to advertise which cars you have available to purchase. Some sites are even free to use such as The Car Lot offered by The Motor Trade Club.

Offering discounts and vouchers on social media such as Twitter and Facebook is another easy way of attracting new customers. To set up business accounts on social media check out our Social Media Guide for Motor Traders.

blog-post-assets-qStep 8: Trade Plates

Trade licence plates can help you save time and money as a motor trader. Buying trade plates means you won’t need to register and tax every vehicle temporarily in your possession.

Similar to taxing a vehicle, trade plates can be valid from 6 to 12 months at a time and cost around £100.

To purchase trade plates simply visit the DVLA website

blog-post-assets-convoStep 9: Hire Staff

Hiring employees is often a difficult task as everyone tends to be on their best behaviour during the interview process. Consider offering employees a trial period to see if they are right for the job. This will allow you to assess their true character over a 3 month period and make a decision based on their performance.


blog-post-assets-heartStep 10: Customer Service

There is nothing more powerful in growing a successful business than positive and genuine recommendations.

If you provide excellent customer service you can increase the chance that you will be either rated online or verbally recommended to a friend or family member. This is the best way of gaining new customers and ensuring they return in the near future.

To find out how to provide excellent customer service as a motor trade check out our Essential Social Media Guide for Motor Traders.

Now you have everything in place, its time to get started!  Good luck and congratulations on becoming your own boss!

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Drivers Shamed on Social Media

Social media is now being used to target bad drivers who park either illegally or in an annoying way for other road users.

The internet has fought many social and political battles, such as the successful call for the return of Cadbury’s Wispa chocolate bars and the internet meme, dog shaming. Now cities across the UK have started a new campaign, this time against careless parking.

The meme Parking Like a **** has become amazingly popular with The Brighton site amassing over 5,000 likes,  Liverpool’s version of the site has over 17,000, while the original page has almost 25,000. The individual sites apparently receive around 20 images of inconsiderate parking every day, while the original page has become so famous that it hasn’t posted about parking since March and now delivers content similar to the likes of the LAD Bible.

Pictures on the local pages range from the mildly frustrating cars in supermarkets that take up two lanes, to the public menaces that park on the pavement while blocking disabled access. The local authorities don’t follow up on the images but it gives the users a place to vent their frustration and hopefully embarrass those that might otherwise go unpunished.

This can often arouse some heated conversations, so the owners of the pages tend to remain anonymous, this way they can carry on exposing the terrible parking without fear of too much backlash. Likewise, followers of the page can anonymously email or private message images to the owners to make them aware of their city’s awful parking.

Users often comment on what should happen to the drivers featured on the Facebook pages, but thankfully they do not take the law into their own hands. However, in Brazil a comedy team known as Boom performed a practical joke that was guaranteed to excite the parking shaming pages.

After finding a car illegally parked in a disabled bay without proper badges, they employed a prank involving an elaborate amount of post it notes. Covering it head to toe in the sticky blue pages, they created a disabled sign on the car to remind the driver and passersby of his crime.

With people laughing and jeering at the obviously frustrated driver the video is incredibly funny to watch, but also worrying that he then gets into his car and drives away with no clear vision of the road ahead. See the video below.

The trouble with pranks and shaming sites like these is, although you’d hope that both the photographers and the comedians do the proper checks, are they sure that the shamed people parking in disabled zones are definitely not disabled. Some disabilities are much less visible, take the case of American woman, Julie McGovern who recently had a note pinned to her car with the word ‘Faker’.

Julie, a former athlete, suffers from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, which unpredictably effects every organ in her body and can cause her to be incredibly fatigued after the smallest of tasks. It’s because of notes like this that Julie is afraid to use the disabled bays, and sometimes waits until no one is around to leave her car.

To raise awareness Julie posted an open letter on Facebook, explaining her condition and letting people know about the hurtful note.

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Read the full Facebook post here:

The shaming sites have got law abiding drivers’ best interests at heart, but people need to be aware of the full facts before jumping straight on the shame train.

Think Insurance are experts at supplying Car insurance for our customers. If you would like to get a great price with tailored insurance, specific to you, please get in touch today.

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