A criminal mind can use a multitude of objects as a weapon, such as a gun, a knife, a pipe, a baseball bat – but the FBI says that one of the newest developments, the driverless car, could be used as a ‘lethal weapon’ in the future. While they also admit that there is definitely the benefits of road safety, they foresee high-speed chases or criminals using them for unintended purposes – but isn’t that what criminals always do? They take an object designed for a specific purpose and use it for evil – why should a driverless car be any different?
The Special Agents of the Strategic Issues Group within the FBI’s Directorate of Intelligence who wrote the report said, “Autonomy … will make mobility more efficient, but will also open up greater possibilities for dual-use applications and ways for a car to be more of a potential lethal weapon that it is today.” The potential is that criminals will find a way to override the safety mechanisms and turn these harmless, driverless cars into vehicles of mass destruction. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but can you image if a car-size bomb was pre-programmed to drive into a building or onto a military base and then detonated! It is one thing to find a terrorist willing to go on a suicide mission, but quite another matter when you can send in a manless vehicle.
The driverless cars also have an upside for the FBI and law enforcement in general – self-driving cars can “optimize” three-point turns and other awkward maneuvers to help responders get to the scene of a crime quicker. They also see an advantage to the ever-popular car chase or tailing a suspect scenario – an automated vehicle would have greater control over keeping track of the target, not only in keeping a safe distance, but also in not losing the suspects. Responding units would also be able to co-ordinate blocking in the fleeing vehicle at a particular intersection. Of course, with Google’s vehicles currently programmed to go no faster than 25 MPH, chances of a high-speed chase are a thing of the future. Please hook up with us on our Google+ Page and let us know what you think about the future of driverless cars – criminals or not, it seems like a very exciting future.