Like any technology, self-driving cars could potentially lead tomore driver convenience – and a lot fewer crashes – but also to some unintended consequences. One of these, according to a recent FBI report, is the potential for criminals and terrorists to abuse autonomous cars to more easily do their dirty work.
In the unclassified but restricted report obtained by British newspaper The Guardian, the FBI said “the risk that distraction or poor judgment leading to collision that stems from manual operation would be substantially reduced” by self-driving cars. And it added that autonomous technology could be approved by the U.S. government within five to seven years.
But while the FBI believes that self-driving cars “will make mobility more efficient,” it said in the report that the technology “will also open up greater possibilities … for a car to be more of a potential lethal weapon.” It predicted that “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.”
This presumably could range from criminals firing weapons at police in pursuit without the need for a separate getaway driver to terrorists programing self-driving car bombs. But the FBI believes that autonomous cars will also help the good guys and that the technology “will have a high impact on transforming what both law enforcement and its adversaries can operationally do with a car.”