FBI: Self driving cars could be lethal weapons

Gosling in google car
Promo image Drive meets Google Car

Google's motto may be "don't be evil" but that may not apply to their cars.

The FBI is worried that self-driving cars might be used as lethal weapons. According to the Guardian,

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.” This presumably reflects fears that criminals might override safety features to ignore traffic lights and speed limits, or that terrorists might program explosive-packed cars to become self-driving bombs.

The FBI also worries that not having to hold the steering wheel will give criminals a big advantage. "Bad actors will be able to conduct tasks that require use of both hands or taking one’s eyes off the road which would be impossible today."

Now I know that the FBI has a lot on its plate and that part of its job is to anticipate things like this, but 33,561 Americans were killed by cars in 2012, they are already pretty lethal. 31,328 were killed by guns. Now we have to worry about self-driving cars?

The FBI does acknowledge that “autonomous cars would likely face many hardships with evasive driving or car chases,” especially since the car stops at red lights and stop signs and goes 25 MPH. Also, no doubt the cops could just ping Google and tell them to turn it off. It has become a trope in google car stories, what would happen if OJ Simpson or Thelma and Louise were in them: not much. This is just silly.

Although I do feel sorry for Ryan Gosling.

More in the Guardian

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