This excellent article surveys the present and likely near future for self-driving cars. It's very useful for that field. But what makes it Infocult-worthy is when it considers barriers to adoption, leading off with some serious technology fear: "AVs [autonomous vehicles] are the greatest force multiplier to emerge in decades for criminals and terrorists."
Autonomous vehicles ... open the door for new types of crime not possible today. A future Timothy McVeigh will not need to drive a truck full of fertilizer to the place he intends to detonate it. A burner email account, a prepaid debit card purchased with cash, and an account, tied to that burner email, with an AV car service will get him a long way to being able to place explosives near crowds, without ever being there himself...
How would people react? Rubalcava offers a fine hypothetical. Call it Infocult fiction:
The reaction to the first car bombing using an AV is going to be massive, and it’s going to be stupid. CNN will go into “missing airplane” mode. There will be calls for the government to issue a stop to all AV operations, much in the same way that the FAA ordered a ground stop after 9/11. But unlike 9/11, which involved a decades-old transportation infrastructure, the first AV bombing will use an infrastructure in its infancy, one that will be much easier to shut down. That shutdown could stretch from temporary to quasi-permanent with ease, as security professionals grapple with the technical challenge of distinguishing between safe, legitimate payloads and payloads that are intended to harm.
On the hacking front, this:
One can easily imagine a teenager sending every AV in his city to his high school at the same time, with or without bewildered passengers stuck inside them. Or, a prankster could simply lock the doors on an entire fleet of vehicles, trapping passengers inside until a solution could be found. The possibilities are endless, mostly because AVs are going to be first Internet of Things product category to be mobile and large enough to transport humans and cargo.
To his credit, Rubalcava backs away from the fear these concepts raise, and approaches the problems quite reasonably.