logo

A Driving Force Of Danger



Sufficiently computerized the car could be controlled remotely or even set to auto-pilot. As this technology came into it's own the it opened up the new avenues, opportunities, and new levels of independence for people who were medically unfit to drive. Parents simply able to place their kids in the car starting at much younger ages and simply send them off to school, or to visit a friend, or family member save themselves a great deal of time by letting the car drive them and return home. Shipping companies, or even just people who want to send items to and fro find they can send the car for the packages, or with them and simply have the car return itself home when they are done.

It's a miracle technology for millions. Yet to hacker known online as Coyote it's a perfect killing ground. The cars were built with no manual overrides, or manual overrides that the driver can't access in on the road in the event of an emergency, or were even designed so the computer can override them, or disable them. Better...at least to Coyote.

Coyote sits cozy in an unknown location anywhere that might please him in the world and enters code into the computer. Perhaps there are 100 safe guards designed to prevent this perhaps a million, perhaps more, but it doesn't matter Coyote is determined and brilliant and no amount of security can keep him out forever. No matter how many things they try to do, it's only a matter of time before a hacker cracks the code, and manages to get into the system.

Then at long last Coyote is in, and selects the first target. Who? A car with a young child inside on the way to school? Or perhaps the blind man who's car is driving him to work? Neither of whom would have been in the car by themselves were it not for the driverless car. The truck carrying goods to a store, or worse something highly flammable or even toxic? Shall he run them into a tree? Into another vehicle? Perhaps hit a pedestrian in the process, or run the vehicle off a cliff? Or into a building full of people? Whatever Coyote decides blood is spilled as Coyote takes control of the vehicle remotely and smashes into anything. If the victim is lucky it is quick, but they may not be so lucky, or they may survive forever maimed enduring agony so long as they shall live. Coyote may even decided to strike that same victim again should they survive, and may know enough to ensure it could never have been quick.

And who does Coyote work for? Perhaps Coyote works for evil so powerful that no one will ever assume it was more than a malfunction of the car. Or perhaps it does not matter for any machine can malfunction and when it does the tragedy of these malfunctions is the loss of lives and people will never find out for sure. Coyote might be smart enough to ensure the computer is to smashed for anyone to be sure.

Coyote might even use such skills to kidnap for others. After all why should a criminal go to the trouble of grabbing the person when they can get a hacker to digitally high jack the car, and simply bring their victim to them. Coyote's is no longer confined to information, trucks full of goods to be delivered, hostages for ransom. The threat of the hacker has been taken to whole new level.

How many die, or are kidnapped, or simply stolen from at the hands of people such as Coyote before they demand that manual overrides that can never be overridden accessible and easy to use for the average driver, so they can operate their cars manually in the event of malfunction or even attack and demand auto-drive systems be completely isolated physically so they cannot be hacked remotely? How many tragic malfunctions that had nothing to do with hackers, but were simply a machine working incorrectly does it take before people realize that the machines while useful servants can still fail them? Eventually such safeguards were demanded, and there is no counting how many lives were saved. There is no version of events were auto accidents were completely eliminated. There is only making certain that more people than ever before were better off, and giving people a better chance to survive them.

When I wrote this sci-fi short the driverless car was a technology that had thus far never been used in the mainstream population, however they were foreseeable.
2012-present E. S. Pfahl. All rights reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means - - graphic electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, information storage and retrieval systems - - without written permission of E. S. Pfahl