Self-driving cars may be more likely to hit black people

A new study finds autonomous vehicles may be a bit racist.

    2019/03/06

NSFW    ATLANTA — If you happen to be of a darker persuasion, you might want to keep your head on a swivel next time you see an autonomous vehicle, because according to a new study, it might not see you.
According to a new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the darker your skin, the more likely you might be to getting hit by a self-driving car, because automated vehicles may be better at detecting whiter pedestrians.

According to Vox, researchers wanted to see how well self-driving cars detected people with different skin colors.
They analyzed a large dataset of images that had pedestrians and divided them up into light-skinned and dark-skinned groups using the Fitzpatrick scale, a system for separating human skin tones from light to dark.
The researchers found that the dark-skinned group was less accurately detected by five percentage points than the light-skinned group.

They found the difference to still be significant when they controlled for variables like time of day or the occasionally blocked view of pedestrians.
The study is called "Predictive Inequity in Object Detection," and has yet to be peer reviewed.
Another area researchers might want to analyze is whether detection can be affected when white people are in blackface. Better yet, can black people can increase their chances of survival by putting on whiteface?
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