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Risk of autopilot being used for nefarious purposes

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Herbys, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. Herbys

    Herbys Member

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    I was chatting with my brother about my new X and he made a comment that worried me. What if a terrorist organization decides to use a self-driving car as a car-bomb?
    Yes, autopilot cannot be used to deliver a bomb today, but in the near future that will be possible. I think it may be possible even today with some clever manipulation of the sensors (e.g. a dummy in the driver's seat, getting it started with the window open and then letting it go).
    Is this a real risk? Anything that can be done about it?
    I can think of a couple things:
    1) Enhancing internal sensors to ensure there's always a human in the car. Of course, this means no "long distance summon" so it may be undesirable. And it may be bypassed by even creepier methods.
    2) Enhancing the Model X air filtration system to detect explosives. Explosive detectors are becoming a commodity, and you may be able to put one in the air circulation system so autopilot refuses to work if there's an identifiable explosive inside the car. Of course, this would only be useful until the terrorists find out how to bypass the detection (e.g. block the air flow) but as long as you make it hard enough it may serve its purpose.

    I think this is an unlikely scenario in the short term, but an almost assured one in the long term. And the day it happens, we may lose autonomous driving for many years while lawmakers panic and try to find a way around it, so anything we can do to prevent this from happening would be desirable.
     
  2. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    All that's a waste of time, engineering effort, and cost.

    A terrorist could just as easily do this a la Mythbusters:
    rccar.jpg

    1000 ways to skin a cat. Making cars more complex and costly just to reduce the likelihood of making one of those ways more difficult is just not worth it.
     
  3. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    Far too many terrorists are far too willing to drive it themselves and blow themselves up. Who needs AP and a Model X when you can just rent a truck for a few bucks and get a driver for free?
     
  4. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    Terrorists aren't known for spending $100,000 for their bombs. They buy their equipment on the cheap.
     
  5. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    You mean like how cell phones are now forbidden because they have been used to set off bombs remotely, how vests are forbidden since they are often made to carry explosives for suicide bombers, how cars in general have been forbidden since the Oklahoma city bombing where explosives were hidden in the trunk and the car parked next to a federal building?
     
  6. skilly

    skilly Member

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    yes because according to the news, the terrorists are everywhere and out to get us...wait, I thought that the Model S was standard issue for the good guys...they show up on the good side with The Kinsmen and Brothers Grimsby, no?
     
  7. MorrisonHiker

    MorrisonHiker Beta Tester

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    Actually, it was a Ryder rental truck, but we get what you mean.
     
  8. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    I had all these clever comments to put in after reading the OP, looks like most of you beat me to it.
     
  9. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    Well now you gave them the idea.... nice work.
     
  10. Brightonuk

    Brightonuk Member

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    Pass the dubie
     
  11. pedriscoll

    pedriscoll True Blue Tesla Fan

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    This is such an unlikely possibility that it is not even worth seriously discussing.
     
  12. eloder

    eloder Member

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    They could just buy a small plane with the money spent buying a MS/MX and have a much more effective weapon.

    Using such a smart car to deliver a bomb would make it that much easier to track/arrest a perpetrator. Tesla could pull up tons and tons of information and hand it right over to federal agents for an investigation.
     
  13. notAmeenPerson

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    #13 notAmeenPerson, Mar 10, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
    This topic is sensational. I imagine they would use something cheaper. It's so unlikely it's not even worth mentioning. I know the Model S and X have a large amount of... ahem... space for "cargo," but it's just completely unrealistic. You're making it sound there's someone meaning to do harm lying around every corner.
    athens_2259934c.jpg
     
  14. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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  15. Kandiru

    Kandiru Member

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    When you point the finger to someone don't forget the other three are pointing towards you.
     

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