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Thursday, 17 July 2014 12:16

US paranoia deals with driverless cars

Written by Nick Farrell



What if a terrorist uses them?

The US FBI has warned driverless cars could be used as 'lethal weapons' particularly if they are hacked. The FBI believes the “game changing” vehicle could revolutionise high-speed car chases within a matter of years. The report also warned that autonomous cars may be used as "lethal weapons.”

In an unclassified but restricted report obtained by the Guardian under a public records request, the FBI predicts that autonomous cars “will have a high impact on transforming what both law enforcement and its adversaries can operationally do with a car.” 

The report notes “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.” We think it is a good idea that Paris Hilton not be placed in charge of vehicle. One nightmare scenario could be suspects shooting at pursuers from getaway cars that are driving themselves.

The problem is 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. On the plus side the FBI expects that fully autonomous vehicles will help to reduce the high number of accidents in which first responders are involved.

The FBI has worked out that it will be much easier to spy on automatic cars. 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.

Nick Farrell

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