Ample research demonstrates that self-driving cars can safely navigate America’s roads while preventing accidents caused by distraction or recklessness. They’re certainly not without fault, however. Many people are reluctant to cede control to an autonomous vehicle, no matter how promising the research.
As it turns out, these fears may not be entirely misplaced. The FBI has, on numerous occasions, warned of the possible hazards of self-driving cars, including their potential use as lethal weapons. Read on to learn more about the most alarming risks of autonomous vehicles.
Transforming Police Chases
A 2014 FBI report obtained by the Guardian indicates fears of autonomous vehicles’ expanded role in police chases. Evidently, experts within the FBI believe that suspects may come to rely on self-driving cars for quick and violent getaways, even shooting at pursuing police as cars operate all on their own.
The aforementioned report also acknowledges the potential for overriding cars’ programming to gain control and prevent fleeing criminals from getting away. While this ability would essentially eliminate the getaway fears outlined above, it brings up some significant ethical and constitutional dilemmas. The 2014 report also indicates that the FBI might eventually use self-driving cars to improve surveillance, thereby reducing the likelihood of patrol cars’ losing track of escaping criminals.
There’s clear cause for alarm with the increased potential for armed criminals’ shooting while traveling at high speeds, but unfortunately, the risks don’t end there. Reports from the FBI also indicate fears that autonomous cars may eventually be used to harbor explosives. Terrorists could pack vehicles full of explosives and send them to the location of greatest impact, all without having to sacrifice themselves in the effort. In an age in which smaller, more targeted acts have largely taken the place of September 11-style tragedies, autonomous vehicles could provide a terrifying new convenience to both international and domestic terrorists.
A notable silver lining to the potential for weaponized vehicles exists: authorities could override vehicles if reasonable suspicion indicates their potential use in a terrorist attack. Detecting this may prove difficult, however, and, as mentioned earlier, brings up significant ethical dilemmas.
Although not explicitly addressed in the aforementioned FBI report, hacking constitutes a significant worry among autonomous vehicle skeptics. Worried individuals suggest that a competent hacker could override vehicles and take full control, purposefully causing crashes. This could provide yet another opportunity for terrorists to harm innocent individuals without losing their own lives.
Analyzing the economic consequences of self-driving cars may not be the FBI’s intent, but plenty of others are interested in — and worried about — the impact these vehicles might have on the job market. From bus drivers to postal workers, and even those dependent on Uber’s gig economy, autonomous vehicles could cause wide-scale job loss. Harvard researcher Lawrence Katz explains that three percent of the current labor market makes their living behind the wheel, and many of those individuals will lose their jobs if autonomous vehicles one day take over.
Self-driving cars hold great promise for a safer future behind the wheel, but ample cause for concern remains. It’s important to address these issues before getting overly excited about autonomous vehicles, and, as these cars become available to the public, consider whether we’re really ready to put up with the attached risks.
No matter the cause of your vehicle-based injury, you deserve justice if negligence played a role. Contact the Mann Law Firm today to learn more.