Robotaxis driven by firms such as Waymo and Cruise employ a slew of cameras and sensors to avoid clogging traffic and colliding with objects. Those cameras, however, capture everything, including the faces and registration plates of the individuals and automobiles they pass… The cops now want to see that footage.
In 2021, San Francisco police were seeking to solve a murder when they checked local security footage and zeroed in on a gray Dodge Charger they suspected was the shooter’s vehicle. They also saw several of Waymo’s self-driving cars traveling by at the same time and wondered whether they might obtain the data from those vehicles.
In fact, a San Francisco Police Department training document from 2022 reads, “Autonomous vehicles are recording their surroundings continuously and have the potential to help with investigative leads … investigations has already done this several times.”
For their part, Waymo claim that they “tailor” the data they provide to police to the specific subject of the warrant, blurring faces and pixelating license plates of bystanders and other vehicles. Cruise may do something similar, but both companies say police requests for data are rare.
Rare today, but what about tomorrow…I wish I had answers — but then you guys are smart! 😉
Reference- Vice, Bloomberg, Inside EVs, Futurism, The Drive