Will criminals in driverless vehicles have a free ride?

New York, Aug 17 (IANS) How will police stop a criminal if he/she were to use a self-driving car in the future? New web-enabled tools could be the answer to the challenges posed by driverless vehicles, says a new study.

The report is based upon feedback from an expert panel of 16 practitioners and technology experts convened to discuss what upcoming Internet technologies may be valuable and what the technology likely will do for criminal justice efforts.

“Just how will an officer signal instructions to self-driving cars, such as when officers are controlling traffic at intersections?” asked lead author of the report John Hollywood, senior operations researcher at RAND Corporation, a US-based nonprofit research organisation.

“This and many other questions about law enforcement and driverless vehicles need to be addressed,” the report said noting that top law enforcement priority was for help with policies and procedures to interact with driverless vehicles.

In the future, police officers may be able to gesture at a self-driving car to bring it to a stop or move a self-driving vehicle that blocks a fire hydrant, the report noted.

“The criminal justice field has mostly been reactive to new technology developments such as smart phones and social media,” Hollywood pointed out.

“We have developed a road map of how new Internet-based technologies might help law enforcement in the future, as well as set priorities for the improvements that are needed most,” Hollywood noted in a statement released by RAND Corporation.

Top criminal justice priorities for new internet tools include developing a common criminal history record that can be shared across agencies, developing real-time language translation tools and improved video displays for law enforcement officers to adapt to changing needs, according to the analysis.

The researchers said that while there are many promising technologies that could aid the criminal justice field, many of the developments raise issues related to civil rights, privacy rights and cybersecurity that must be addressed before the improvements can be fully realised.

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