Everyone loves a bit of a dystopian prediction on a Tuesday afternoon. So here we go then with the latest threat to humanity, search the humble SATNAV. That’s right your Tom Tom could be the death of you according to a recent report by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE.)
The problems stems from the UK’s dangerous reliance on the technology. The report highlights some of the key issues with the technology such as the lack of back-ups to the systems and risk deliberate or accidental interference (solar flares, denture malicious jamming etc.) So what exactly would happen should the solar flares strike? Surely it can’t be that bad, right?
Obviously there would be a hoard of angry and frustrated drivers, which is little more than an inconvenience unless some guy gets mega road-rage and beats someone to death with a gearstick.
More seriously, a huge chunk of the economy would buckle in (an estimated €800 billion chunk of the European economy is already dependent on GNSS.)
And Amulances, fire engines and the like who rely on GPS would be hit with life-threatening delays. Picture the scene; there’s a catastrophe like 7/7 (God forbid) which affects GPS. The emergency services are already struggling due to the scale of the problem and on top of everything emergency response vehicles trying to get to the scene are lost without GPS and have no back-up method of getting directions. Hundreds of lives would be at risk and there would be a public outcry. Obviously this is the worst case scenario, but I’m not just doom-mongering here; scientist and tech-experts are genuinely concerned about the issue. The RAE has handed some suggestion to the government, so let’s hope they listen.