Health and safety consideration
Our design for an “autonomous vehicle” poses some minor health and safety considerations since our design might potentially be used in consumer vehicles. The parallel parking feature implemented in our vehicle design would not cause any health and safety problems. However, the object avoidance on the vehicle could potentially cause safety problems if the collision avoidance system is flawed when installed on a consumer vehicle. It is therefore imperative that the design be thoroughly tested before installed on systems that could cause safety or health problems.
The RoHS directive prohibits the use of toxic substances in electronic devices. This would be beneficial to the health and safety of the operators by not exposing them to substances that could potentially harm their health. Finally, the last consideration is regarding the safety of people and objects around the vehicle, which is why we implemented the object avoidance system, not only to protect the operators of the vehicle, but also of the people around the vehicle.
While designing the parallel parking vehicle, there were several choices that were
decided upon that directly impacted the environment. We tried to make sure that the choices we made were the most beneficial to the environment. The first choice that we made regarding environmental concerns was regarding the battery that would be used to power the vehicle. We tried to use a power system for the vehicle that would be the most energy efficient, which included implementing an energy efficient design, while deciding on the most efficient battery technology. There were also other minor environmental considerations implemented throughout the design of our project, including the reduction of paper waste during the design process. We decided that we would use electronic copies rather than paper copies throughout our design process, only printing designs when it was absolutely necessary. We further enveloped this
concern while we printed the report by labeling each page number with a section number at the beginning, reducing paper waste by avoiding the reprinting of the entire report if changes need to be made.
While implementing our design we tried to keep the manufacturing process in mind,
making sure that the choices we made would not make the manufacturing process of the vehicle any more difficult or complicated than necessary. The design that we will implement will be with PCB boards and wires soldered together with the components mounted on top; however, if our design were to go into the manufacturing stage, it would be much simpler to use a printed electronic board where we could mount the components. This would allow for a much neater electronic assembly, while making sure it fits inside of our purchased RC vehicle.
Our design for an “autonomous vehicle” poses no major ethical considerations; since the
topic of our design will not cause any moral dilemmas. Our design could be used as a stepping stone into the field of autonomous vehicle design, paving the path for more advanced research on the subject. There is, however, a minor ethical question that did arise throughout the process. This minor ethical dilemma includes the use of computers to control devices once operated by humans.
A. Intelligent Devices replacing Human Operation
The minor issue that was noticed during our consideration of possible dilemmas was the gradual transition from human operated devices to computer operated devices. It has become common practice to include microcontrollers in devices that were once fully operated by humans to include a level of intelligence that does not require human intervention. For example, toy vehicles used to be fully radio controlled by humans, and our design plans to eliminate collisions by providing the vehicle the ability error by programming the vehicle to avoid objects located in its path. While some may claim that this is a good first step to increasing public safety and reducing the destruction of
property, there are people that may claim that this is a first step to eliminating human intervention in mechanical devices. While intelligent mechanical devices have replaced human intervention in certain industries, it is not of great concern whether a vehicle that has the ability to drive itself poses a threat to humans losing the ability to operate the vehicle. Actually, the system we design could be later used in a human operated vehicle with safety precautions to avoid possible collisions.