A self-driving car in the hands of terrorists

No need for a driver – a terrorist group can send a self-driving car to its destination loaded with explosives instead.

The Silicon Valley whizzes at Google and Apple are at the forefront of building self-driving cars to go with our smartphones and other techie gadgets.  Other companies like Tesla Motors are also putting smart technology on board their vehicles.  The media love to showcase the safety advantages of these computers on wheels with a futuristic vision of zero accidents and traffic moving seamlessly on urban roads.

The self-driving car can alleviate parking problems by dropping you off at a downtown restaurant, for example, and then park itself wherever there is space using a smart parking app.  When you are ready to pay the bill with your smartphone, you can also summon your smart wheels to pick you up and return you to your smart home.

But there is a downside as well: rather than recruit a suicide volunteer to drive an explosive-laden vehicle to its destination, a terrorist group could program a smart car instead.  It is not clear if the self-driving car designers are looking at the malevolent use of this technology, but it has the potential to drastically change the nature of future threats to our homeland.

There are discussions about adding self-driving big rigs to the highways as well, but then the potential damage could be increased by orders of magnitude.  Imagine the risk to our infrastructure such as bridges, tunnels, and other critical facilities.

It is unlikely that state and federal governments are looking at this threat, since the tech giants are quite cozy with our political leaders.  One hopes that someone, somewhere is looking at this technology to find some way to prevent this scenario from happening.

No need for a driver – a terrorist group can send a self-driving car to its destination loaded with explosives instead.

The Silicon Valley whizzes at Google and Apple are at the forefront of building self-driving cars to go with our smartphones and other techie gadgets.  Other companies like Tesla Motors are also putting smart technology on board their vehicles.  The media love to showcase the safety advantages of these computers on wheels with a futuristic vision of zero accidents and traffic moving seamlessly on urban roads.

Google self-driving car

The self-driving car can alleviate parking problems by dropping you off at a downtown restaurant, for example, and then park itself wherever there is space using a smart parking app.  When you are ready to pay the bill with your smartphone, you can also summon your smart wheels to pick you up and return you to your smart home.

But there is a downside as well: rather than recruit a suicide volunteer to drive an explosive-laden vehicle to its destination, a terrorist group could program a smart car instead.  It is not clear if the self-driving car designers are looking at the malevolent use of this technology, but it has the potential to drastically change the nature of future threats to our homeland.

There are discussions about adding self-driving big rigs to the highways as well, but then the potential damage could be increased by orders of magnitude.  Imagine the risk to our infrastructure such as bridges, tunnels, and other critical facilities.

It is unlikely that state and federal governments are looking at this threat, since the tech giants are quite cozy with our political leaders.  One hopes that someone, somewhere is looking at this technology to find some way to prevent this scenario from happening.