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Autonomous vehicles are a drug smuggler’s dream

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Level 5 autonomous vehicles (AVs) allow shipping companies to significantly reduce their costs and liability as they no longer need long-haul truck drivers. However, this also applies to smugglers. The trafficking of drugs, people, weapons and goods on the black market will all receive a blessing from AVs.

Easy to ship

There will be an huge increase in vehicles on the road with the advent of fully autonomous technology.

Long-haul delivery vehicles can largely be used without passengers in them and probably won’t even have room for a passenger. They will cruise highways and borders.

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Law enforcement officers cannot currently scan every vehicle on the road as is, but only after vehicle traffic increases. They will have to figure out ways to determine which vehicles are likely to be used for illegal activities; and what to do if they find one with illegal goods in it.

Currently, there is ambiguity about who should be held accountable when an AV (or any form of artificial intelligence) breaks a law.

Fewer risks

For smugglers, there are risks in having a person present: a person with a criminal record or inaccurate documentation can raise suspicions of law enforcement, they can make mistakes, they can break laws while driving, they can take off with the load.

Take the person out of the picture and smuggling illegal goods becomes largely risk-free: as long as there is a way for people to anonymously buy and operate AVs (which will probably be possible as it currently is with cell phones, laptops, cars, weapons, etc.), the smugglers could lose the most if the AV is discovered, the vehicle and the cargo.

Actions the police can take

As cars largely are become more computer than cargovernments and law enforcement agencies will almost certainly ask: back door access to all AVs.

The police might want to take control of your car, or even take control of just the cameras on the car

Regulations can be made for which logs must be reported to law enforcement authorities: The logs may contain the locations entered as destinations, the complete location history of the vehicle, the camera recordings and the biometric data of the person using the vehicle.