SELF-driving cars have been branded racist because they are more likely to hit black people.
A software flaw means the robot vehicles are better at seeing humans with lighter skin tones.
Researchers say the cars are more likely to hit and kill black and darker-skinned people despite having detection sensors and cameras.
A team from Georgia Institute of Technology started looking into the issue after observing higher error rates for certain ethnic minorities.
Tests on image-recognition systems found their accuracy was 5% worse for people with darker skin.
The scientists said: “We hope this provides compelling evidence of the problem that may arise if this is not considered before deploying these sort of recognition models.”
Artificial intelligence expert Kate Crawford tweeted: “Pedestrian deaths by self-driving cars are already here – but they’re not evenly distributed.”