Driverless cars are a “potential lethal weapon,” but could make surveillance “more effective and easier,” the FBI claims in an internal report surfaced by the Guardian.
According to the FBI’s Strategic Issues Group, “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.”
Risks that the FBI highlighted include the ability for “bad actors” to “conduct tasks that require use of both hands or taking one’s eyes off the road, which would be impossible today.” Other concerns include the potential ability to override safety features and the creation of self-driving bombs, the Guardian writes.
But the FBI is reportedly optimistic about the benefits of driverless cars when it comes to surveillance efforts. According to the Guardian, the report details that “surveillance will be made more effective and easier, with less of a chance that a patrol car will lose sight of a target vehicle.”
The FBI also appears to believe that driverless cars will someday significantly reduce traffic accidents:
The risk that distraction or poor judgement leading to collision that stems from manual operation would be substantially reduced…
Sadly, the Guardian did not release the FBI report in full.
Google’s outlook on autonomous cars is far more optimistic. When announcing its first driverless prototype, Google called it “an important step toward improving road safety and transforming mobility for millions of people.”