My Car Quest

July 15, 2024

Autonomous Cars – Question No. 2

by Mike –

Contributor Wallace Wyss, hard at work on a book on autonomous cars, has volunteered to publish five different scenarios on My Car Quest, one every few days, to see what readers think about what will inevitably happen once the robots take the wheel.

“I am not against autonomous cars,” he says “but I don’t think the public has thought out what could happen as their use spreads without these questions being asked and answered in a public airing.”

He hopes to see posted reader’s comments in any area: engineering, design philosophy, and even ethics.

Here’s the second scenario

Some terrorists, or hell maybe just a gadget nerd who nobody has even noticed before and who wants to gain notoriety, goes to the Golden Gate Bridge, walks halfway across and watches traffic for a minute. It is 8:30 on a Monday morning. Then he takes out his gadget, which looks like a normal laptop, and hones in on the cars coming by. He detects at least six coming toward him that are being driven on full autopilot mode.

He presses a button and tells all the autopilots—collectively—that there is a large object ahead (perhaps sending footage to them of a truck spinning out). Four of the cars react, instantly jamming to a stop. The regular human drivers at the wheel of a legion of ordinary cars (i.e. without autopilot) behind the four are thrown into panic as the autonomous cars slam to a stop. They hit the brakes and there is the mother of all chain collisions.

The Question

There are, as we speak, already autonomous cars out on the road. What precautions have their makers made (or should make) to prevent a hostile takeover of their cars’ autopilot systems?

Any opinions, or other thoughts?

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Read Autonomous Cars – Question No. 1 – click here.



Popular Science-October 1967 - Autonomous Cars

Another vision of a self-driven car from 1967 – yet they still are smoking cigarettes

Autonomous Cars – Question No. 2
Article Name
Autonomous Cars – Question No. 2
How will makers of the autonomous cars prevent a hostile takeover of their cars’ autopilot systems?


  1. Mike Clarke says

    I would imagine there is a auto shut down on all the cars, but what would happen if a car was loaded with C4 and sent on a trip? The people in the picture aren’t smoking cigarettes that’s a big fat reefer.

  2. I’m afraid your scenario is out of touch with the realities happening as we speak. I’m, of course ,referring to the Keynote speech given by NVidia CEO ,Jensne Hsun-Huang’s given at this year’s 2017 CES conference ( If you are impatient just jump right ot poitn 37 mins 38 secs. ) demonstrating what he means with relation to
    Autonomous Vehicles and his description of when the marrying AI with the GPU advances in gaming happened which will certainly change your habit of mind. . Audi can’t be all wrong about joining forces, but then that’s for y’all to decide after doing your homework.

  3. imwithstoop says

    “What precautions have their makers made —-(or should make)—- to prevent a hostile takeover of their cars’ autopilot systems? ”

    I will choose (or should make) since that’s ths real subject……

    I would think that first of all all systems would be reduntant to preclude individual component (power circut) from affecting any other circuit in an unwanted way. Unless some one or thing is able to access the command module from outside the vehicle. in that case the command module should be able to determine if the source were fron the outside and notify control central. A vehicles would always be in constant contact with the control ccentral. Control would over-ride the malfunction and take the vehicle off line and position it out of harms way and contact local road authoritiys of and where the vehicle is. Otherwise you’re SOL……….

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