In Peter Yates' Bullitt, a small remote-controlled model car with
explosives chases Steve McQueen through San Francisco streets - it was
too small to be shot at. Eventually Steve McQueen escapes.
The current crop of software-controlled vehicles is life-size. The
computer controlled actuators - steering, brakes, acceleration - have
full control over the vehicle's motion. There are sensors that strive to
provide data to software to understand the environment, and make some
reasonable decisions regarding what to do with the actuators.
The price of these control systems is steadily going down.
It is more than obvious that as some point it will become economically
feasible to deploy these robots for clandestine purposes - delivering
explosives, running people over, etc. If anyone tells you that the
system is "secure" or mentions "reliable remote disablement", call them
a liar. Hacked software can run the car with explosives to the delivery
spot, handset location tracking to find the assassination victim walking
on the street (even better, crossing on green light), use your
imagination. No need for suicidal activities.
So how does one stop such robot? It's important to understand that these
do not need remote control, nor any radio communication whatsoever
(including GPS - terrain recognition is sufficient and more accurate),
so radio jamming will not work.
In a manned (womanned ?) car, one can shoot the driver. Most unwanted
explosive deliveries and pedestrian-mowing rampages are stopped this
way. What do you shoot at when there is no driver? Can the police with
handguns do anything?
There are two possible futures with low-cost autonomous robots, riding
The first one is permanent presence of the police with anti-tank and
The second one is imaginary.
Watch for autonomous cars with sex doll passengers.
# distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
# <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
# collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
# more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l
# archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nett...@kein.org
# @nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject: