Driverless Cars could be Racist when Detecting Pedestrians

DRIVERLESS cars could have an issue with racial bias when it comes to identifying pedestrians on the road, according to a new study.

Research conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology found autonomous car technology could have problems detecting people with darker skin tones.

The results could mean lighter skinned people have less chance of being hit by a driverless vehicle than those with dark skin. Researchers analysed how object detection models like those used in autonomous cars identify people from different demographic groups. Using a range of images of people with different skin tones, the study found technology was, on average, five per cent less accurate at detecting pedestrians in the dark-skinned group. And even when variables like the time of day or the partial obstruction of a pedestrian were altered, examples of people with darker skin weren’t as easily detected.

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