As many of you know, Google launched an effort to design and develop a self-driving vehicle in 2010. At the time, it looked to be nothing more than an attempt by Google’s egalitarian cadre of nouveau-riche tech wonks to achieve nothing more than plow millions of dollars into an unlikely head-long Jetsons run toward the 21st Century; now, however, not so much.
As events illustrated at the end of May, Google is serious about auto-drive, and the sudden visibility triggered the launch of a number of copycat auto-drive products like ‘Cruise’, who’s owners are determined to roll their product out to the public well-ahead of the guys who actually conjured the idea up in the first place. However, like any consumer technology that tries to emerge with only a minimum of regulatory consideration and prudent oversight, the Feds have noticed and they’re not particularly pleased by its promise.
According to a report uncovered by The Guardian News outlet, the G-Men think that auto-drive could, “…have a high impact on transforming what both law enforcement and its adversaries can operationally do with a car. 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 than it is today.”
What they’re primarily interested in is the potential of high-speed car chases, where ‘passengers’ shoot while the car does the driving. However, while this does appear to make sense on the face of it, the notion of auto chases driven across the nation’s highways at the Google Car’s blazing speed of 25 miles per hour would seem to be more humorous than scary, but it’s a reasonable thought nevertheless.
At the end of the day, considerations like the FBI analysis should be part of the larger debate regarding auto-drive. Because, just as soon as any useful technology hits the road, some dope will immediately figure out a way to pervert and alter that product’s positive characteristics, by creating a secondary set of negative impacts. Such is the age-old conundrum associated with technology and the hubris of the human-being. So while we’re at it, anyone for a discount cruise on the Titanic?