FBI Report Suggests That Self-Driving Cars Could Be Used as Rolling Bombs
July 16, 2014 11:02 AM
The report also see self-driving cars as a boon to law enforcement surveillance
Fully autonomous vehicles
bring up a wide range of opinions from our readers. Some, who see driving as a mundane task — especially while sitting in traffic — welcome the technology. Others simply like being in control and scoff at the notion of a computer taking control of every facet of the driving experience.
Not surprisingly, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has its own thoughts on autonomous vehicles and what they could mean for society. According to unclassified FBI documents obtained by
, the FBI sees both the good and the bad with respect to the inevitability of driverless cars.
First off, the FBI fears that criminals will be more adept at multitasking, as they won’t have to focus on controlling the vehicle while carrying out nefarious acts.
The report details, “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.”
Google's autonomous vehicle prototype
The FBI is also concerned that autonomous vehicles could be used as rolling bombing platforms by terrorist organizations.
But the report, which was issued by the FBI’s Strategic Issues Group, also lists some positive attributes as well. They cite that overall safety may be improved by taking humans out of the equation, since autonomous vehicles aren’t affected by “distraction or poor judgment.”
And the FBI also is delighted by the fact that law enforcement might be able to wirelessly tap into an autonomous vehicle to make their jobs easier when pursuing criminals. “Surveillance will be made more effective and easier, with less of a chance that a patrol car will lose sight of a target vehicle,” states the report.
“In addition, algorithms can control the distance that the patrol car is behind the target to avoid detection or intentionally have a patrol car make opposite turns at intersections, yet successfully meet up at later points with the target.”
Technology is quickly moving us towards the autonomous “endgame” when it comes to automobiles. Yesterday, President Barack Obama
threw his support behind Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) technology
, which could help to reduce accidents and vehicular deaths if mandated in future automobiles.
Google, however, is
well ahead of the curve with fully autonomous vehicles
, having fielded modified Toyota Prii and Lexus RX 450h hybrids in California for the past few years. And earlier this year, Google unveiled its vision for the future of autonomous technology with a
vehicle that lacks primary controls
(i.e., no steering wheel) and can take you to your final destination with the push of a button.
"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
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