Advances and Ethics Within Auto Technology Back

This session provides participants with a lively conversation about how advances in technology may affect our individual rights and privacy.


  • Auto Technology
  • Ethics


By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify some of the ethical challenges that accompany advances in the auto technology arena.
  • Understand that product improvements can present ethical dilemmas to be evaluated.



Advisors may find the following suggested resource helpful in planning this session:

  • “New Advances in Car Technology” from Business 2 Community (copy and paste this link into your browser:—It would be beneficial for the Advisor to view this article ahead of time to get some ideas. The material on this site is for personal use only.


Text in italics should be read aloud to participants. As you engage your post in activities each week, please include comments, discussions, and feedback to the group relating to Character, Leadership, and Ethics. These are important attributes that make a difference in the success of youth in the workplace and in life.


Auto Technology Advances

  • Break Explorers into groups of no more than four.
  • Have them take approximately eight minutes to brainstorm as many ideas as possible in response to this statement: Name some of the newer advances in auto technology in recent years. Remind participants not to evaluate the ideas but just to list as many as possible in this step.
  • Then bring the groups back together and have each one report on what they came up with. If you have a flip chart or white board available, list the ideas generated on the board. If multiple groups come up with a similar or the same idea, simply place a tally mark next to it when repeated.
  • The goal is to provide an opportunity for participants to generate ideas and to see what they are already aware of. When the small groups are finished sharing their ideas, compare their list with the one below and see how many ideas the participants generated on their own. Discuss the ones they did not list.
    • Foot-activated tailgate lift
    • Dual temperature controls
    • Parking/backing up sensors
    • Multiple directional cameras
    • GPS tracking
    • Parental control devices
    • Internet compatibility
    • Automatic lights and high beam control
    • Lane drift alerts
    • Push-button starter or remote control starter
    • Emergency avoidance control
    • Obstacle detection

Activity 2

Ethics of Auto Technology

  • Have participants read and review “Auto Innovation: Advanced Technologies” from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
  • Have them break up into two teams. Then randomly assign one team to be pro and the other to be con. Tell them that each team will spend five to eight minutes preparing their arguments about the ethics of autonomous (intelligent) cars.


If you have a large group, divide into four or six teams and give each pair of teams a different topic or angle to discuss. See “Additional Topics” below for more ideas.


  • As the Advisor, you may want to listen as the teams work on their cases. If the teams need more assistance or additional direction, consider asking them some of questions under “Potential Questions” below.
  • Have one person from each team present the team’s arguments.
  • Ask the larger group for input: Did you agree or disagree with what was presented? What other thoughts could be added? Let the larger group voice additional comments, thoughts, and opinions. Be flexible and see where the discussion leads. There may be no correct answer but some very interesting thoughts for consideration.

Additional Topics

  • Advanced features as mentioned in Activity 1
  • Connected cars
  • Cameras—both on roads and within vehicles
  • GPS and tracking systems collecting data in vehicles

Potential Questions

If you need to get the participants started thinking or they get stuck and need further ideas to consider, you may want to ask them some of these questions. But it’s recommended to let the youth struggle a bit with this activity first. They will learn from each other by discussing possible ethical issues regardless of which side of the discussion they have been assigned.

Advanced Features

  • Do you think allowing a vehicle to override a human driver’s responses is a good idea?
  • It is safe to give a vehicle the “controls”?
  • What if the automation of the vehicle fails or is inappropriate?
  • Can the human driver override the decision of the vehicle?
  • Do these features add significantly more value to justify the added cost?

Cameras and Tracking Devices

  • Should we allow cameras in our vehicles? Is what we do in our vehicle anyone else’s business?
  • Should we allow tracking devices in our vehicles? Is where we go in our vehicle anyone else’s business?
  • Do cameras or tracking devices violate our personal privacy?
  • Do cameras and tracking devices in vehicles violate our Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures? (You may want to note that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is often interpreted as protecting individuals’ privacy.)

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

  • Do the findings from cameras and tracking devices give police or others the right to further probable cause to pursue additional search and seizures?


Some sample questions are below. They are designed to help the participants apply what they have learned to their own interests. You are welcome to use these questions or develop your own questions that relate to your post or specific focus area.


Focusing Questions

  • Was today’s conversation challenging for you?
    Was it uncomfortable? How? Why?
  • Did today’s conversation make you think?
  • After today’s activities, how will you see things differently or think about things differently?

Analysis Questions

  • hat idea or thought that was brought up made you look at this industry or at life differently?
  • Was there something said that was impactful to you? Could you share that with us?
  • What additional potential ethical issues do you think could arise in this field?

Generalization Questions

  • Why is this topic important?
  • Is this a conversation you might discuss with your family or friends? Why or why not?


After the meeting, address the following:

  • Identify what was successful about the meeting.
  • Identify what needed improvement.
  • Schedule an officer and Advisor planning meeting to prepare for the next post meeting or activity.
Advances and Ethics Within Auto Technology Activity Guide
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