The benefits of self-driving cars are obvious: no traffic, less stressful commutes and the potential for far fewer accidents. But for all the pros, there's one inescapable con bugging the U.S. government, and that's the possibility of turning self-driving cars into weapons.
An internal FBI report obtained by The Guardian discusses how criminals might exploit autonomous cars, and even use them to do terrible things. If self-driving cars are to become a part of our futures, companies like Google will have to ensure a passenger's safety from outside attacks. Otherwise the FBI might have a good case to keep the technology off the roads.
The Guardian's report features a number of quotes detailing the potential security implications of self-driving cars. Imagine people using this technology to control a car remotely to cause harm to others. The obvious and most frightening concern is the threat of these cars being outfitted with bombs. It will make it easier than ever for criminals to stage acts of terrorism.
Other concerns involve the possibility of these criminals having their hands free to do other things. The security report refers to this as "multitasking," expressing concerns about the technology giving people the opportunity to take their eyes of the road. For someone who isn't a criminal, that's the point of a self-driving car. But for someone with bad intentions, that could allow them to, I don't know, grab a gun in the back seat.
As with any new technology, there always comes bad with the good; it's like a balance of the universe. Cars are dangerous as it is. But take the responsibility of actually having to drive said car and someone out there is going to exploit that. That's why the FBI, it seems, is very, very worried. And why, as they say, we can't have nice things.