While many are praising the development of driverless cars as an opportunity to cut down on traffic accidents, the Federal Bureau of Intelligence sees the potential for far more sinister applications of the technology.
According to a report obtained by The Guardian through a public records request, automated vehicles could revolutionize car chases and may even be used as lethal weapons.
A major fear listed in the report is the possibility that criminals will be free to perform other tasks that would normally be impossible while driving, such as shooting at police pursuers.
“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,” the report said.
Furthermore, the FBI notes that criminals may use the car itself as a weapon. Criminals could possibly bypass the car’s safety features, making it a danger to both pedestrians and other vehicles. They may also load the car with explosives, turning it into a self-guiding bomb.
However, the report also acknowledges the potential benefits from the technology. In addition to the likelihood of reduced accidents, the FBI sees potential applications for surveillance, as the automated cars could be much more effective at tailing other vehicles, even falling out of sight for a time and catching up later to reduce suspicion.
However, don’t expect any high-speed driverless car chases yet: Google’s latest model, still only a prototype, has a top speed of only 25 miles per hour.