ISIS is without a doubt developing autonomous cars at an R&D facility in Raqqa, Syria. Their purpose? To carry out bombing attacks.
The latest warning comes from NATO security expert Dr. Jamie Shea, the deputy assistant secretary general for NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division.
According to the Daily Express, Shea shared the latest intel at April’s Security & Counter Terror Expo 2016 in London. He said a team of ISIS technicians in Raqqa is working on Google-like cars designed to drive themselves to a target location.
“It is not just Google that is producing the autonomous car, ISIS is also trying to do the same,” he said.
A self-driving car bomb would get rid of the need for suicide bombers, solving a huge problem for the terrorist group as its number of fighters dwindles. The plan would be to outfit the vehicles with mannequins, to eliminate any suspicion.
Shea’s comments follow those made by a prominent researcher in March. Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of F-Secure, told a group at South by Southwest the security threat is very real.
“We have concrete evidence they’re building cars that drive themselves,” said Hypponen. “They’re also building mannequins to put behind the driver’s seat, and have built a system to clone the heat system of a human being so it looks like a human’s driving.”
The FBI is also very aware of the threat. It issued a report in 2014 saying ” if autonomous cars are approved by Congress for use by the public nationwide in the next five to seven years, these vehicles will have a high impact on transforming what both law enforcement and its adversaries can operationally do with a car. ”
The report continues: “Autonomy will improve driving safety and make mobility more efficient, but will also open up greater possibilities for dual use applications and ways for a car to be more of a potential lethal weapon than it is today. ”
Sky News filed this report from inside Syria earlier this year.