Drivers who are just coming to terms with the possibility of being passengers in an autonomous automobile may also have to contend with a "spy" onboard.
The Ford Motor Company—which may soon have to abandon its slogan, "Everything We Do is Driven By You" in the wake of the firm's co-ownership of autonomous car company Argo AI—has patented a piggyback drone system that can check a vehicle for damage.
Ford hasn't revealed when it will start putting inspection drones into cars, but the initial plan is to hide one of these drones inside of a glove box or trunk. Even creepier, the system lets the car automatically open a window, release the drone, circle it around the vehicle to take photos and acquire other data, and deploy an AI engine to snuff out damage and/or impeding breakdowns. The drone would send the data back to Ford HQ (or perhaps even a dealer or your favorite repair shop) for further assessment and recommendations. In extreme instances, the drone would call for immediate help if needed.
Graphic Courtesy of Ford
Yes. Big Brother or Big Sister may soon be an "uninvited guest" on your next weekend drive. Beware...