In 2009 GM equipped 17,000 of its units with “remote ignition block,” a kill switch that can turn off the engine if the car is stolen. But that was just the beginning.
Imagine this: You’re leaving work, walking to your car, and you find an empty parking spot — someone stole your brand new Tesla (or whatever fancy autonomous car you’re driving). When you call the police, they ask your permission for a “takeover,” which you promptly give them. Next thing you know, your car is driving itself to the nearest police station. And here’s the kicker — if the thief is inside he will remain locked inside until police can arrest them.
This futuristic and almost slapstick scenario is closer than we think, says Chief Innovation Officer Hans Schönfeld who works for the Dutch police. Currently, his team has already done several experiments to test the crime-halting possibilities of autonomous cars. “We wanted to know if we can make them stop or drive them to certain locations,” Schönfeld tells me. “And the result is: yes, we probably can.”
The Dutch police tested Tesla, Audi, Mercedes, and Toyota vehicles, he reports, adding “We do this in collaboration with these car companies because this information is valuable to them, too.
“If we can hack into their cars, others can as well.”