Brave New World of Cops, Robbers & Driverless Cars

In the News
June 17, 2016

Fewer accidents, fewer cops
Annually, more than 30 million people are involuntarily stopped by the police in the U.S.  Over 85 percent of those stops were traffic violations.  Of an additional 32 million people who had contact with police, 17 percent were because of traffic accidents.

“Combined, more than half of all contacts with the police are related to vehicles,” writes Ohio State researcher Jay Zagorsky.

Zagorsky concludes that once autonomous cars take over the roads, the number of law enforcement professionals could be cut in half without reducing public safety.

According to the Justice Department, 1.2 million people (800,000 sworn officers) and support staff were employed by local, county and state police forces, which in total cost local and state governments about $100 billion a year to protect its citizenry, including police officer healthcare and pension plans

Nearly halving $100 billion annually would be a godsend to most any government.

Of the remaining annual police expenditure, the FBI suggests an additional way to reduce the $50 billion even more in Driverless Cars Could Be Perfect for Police.

The report, written by agents in the Strategic Issues Group within the FBI’s Directorate of Intelligence, was obtained by the U.K.’s Guardian through a public records request. The FBI sees three important uses:

Technology in driverless vehicles offer a safer alternative when responding to emergencies (80 emergency responders a year die from accidents on their way to accidents).
Technology in driverless vehicles, combined with more powerful engines, will result in what FBI calls a “game changing” vehicle that could revolutionize high-speed car chases in pursuit of criminals.
The FBI also claims that tailing suspects will be much simpler with the next generation of robot cars. “Surveillance will be made more effective and easier, with less of a chance that a patrol car will lose sight of a target vehicle.”
“In addition, algorithms can control the distance that the patrol car is behind the target to avoid detection or intentionally have a patrol car make opposite turns at intersections, yet successfully meet up at later points with the target.”

Perfect car, imperfect world
On the surface of things all that budget cutting and efficiency making sounds perfect, and in a perfect world it might stand a good chance of being implemented. However, it’s not a perfect world.

In a section of the very same report titled Multitasking, the FBI paints what the Guardian says is a nightmare scenario when these same driverless vehicles are in the hands of the bad guys.

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