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.