Driverless cars: Who is responsible when something goes wrong?
The car itself is navigating into the spot, which it manages without a scratch.
It is good to see car manufacturers looking to prevent driver-less cars from being hacked. It’s also good that authorities are seeing that there is a risk of hackers taking control of driver-less cars, even groups of them and turning them into dangerous weapons.
It’s ironic that while they are working on ensuring security, the FBI is suggesting that driver-less cars will easier for them to track. It will be interesting to find out what the privacy trade-off will be in that driver-less cars will need to communicate with the grid for safety and navigation purposes. That means if the transport systems know where vehicles are, so will the transport authorities and then if that data is subpoenaed, then legal authorities will also be able to track them.
This raises lots of interesting concerns. There are other industries that will encourage location based information, as I have blogged about before, for example Pay As You Drive (PAYD) insurance wants to know where you drive, how safely you drive, and other industries such as automobile associations breakdown services want to know where you are if you’re airbag deploys. These types of services are typically something you opt into and the laws are there to ‘protect’ your privacy. They apply to all forms of vehicles, not just those without drivers.
The next step starts to get more interesting. If DOT’s start using your location for things like automatic payment on Toll Roads using Fleet Management systems, they can technically track your vehicle anywhere. You could find that your car tells on you whenever you exceed the speed limit and you get instant fines. Law enforcement could find out where your car has been if you are a crime suspect and lots more. Of course they can already do a lot of that by tracking your mobile, but that’s another story.
What it comes down to is that car manufacturers and government in general needs to ensure that our privacy is protected. To make it very clear with any system what information is shared, with who and what restrictions are in place on the purpose of use. If they don’t, car manufacturers could find a resurgence of interest in old school cars that don’t have computers.