I'm not sure where I read this, but I have a memory of reading a story/short story/novel about someone taking a self-driving taxi, which can recognize who you are. If there's a warrant out for your arrest, it will lock you in the car and take you to the nearest police station. The protagonist in the car doesn't want to be taken to the police station, so tries to hack the car. They ultimately get drones to fly in front of the car. Thinking the drones are people, the car tries to avoid them, causing the car to drive off the bridge it's driving over, freeing the rider.

  • Why don't you tell us where you think you read it, even if you're not sure.
    – user14111
    Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 5:34
  • The first half of the question has Philip K. Dick written all over it, but that changes to Robert A. Heinlein for the second half. Not sure if this helps.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 14:16
  • @MrLister Drones, if called that in the story, seem too new for Heinlein (who died in 1988, before that term was commonly used for what we now mean by it). FWIW, I thought of Heinlein for the first part -- some of his books included self-driving taxis (Between Planets for sure, and probably others). Hacking the car in transit, however, is more cyberpunk.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


I will yield this if Adam James comes back and writes up a more extensive answer. Margaret Killjoy's "One Star" is a match.

After two turns, the Taxy already looked like it it was heading the wrong direction.

"This isn't the way I usually take," I said. "You redirecting to avoid traffic or something?"

"I regret to inform you that your destination has been marked as a location of potential interest to the police."

I went for the safety harness release. It wouldn't let go.

"The fuck you talking about?"

"This police district requests all principal transportation providers to log passenger information of those traveling to and from specific locations. While customer privacy is of the utmost importance to us, we at Taxy are both required and proud to uphold our legal responsibilities."

"So why you driving the wrong way?"

"Unfortunately, the information provided in your account with Taxy does not match any existing police records. A request has been made to transport you to the station so they may identify you before we may proceed to your destination. Your account will not be charged for the additional time and distance. This matter is not criminal, and you are not facing charges or fines."


Jae kept three phones on her quadcopters. An autonomous brain, a camera, and a redundancy that stayed off by default. Three cellular devices. That counted as three people. But only the brain was likely to be on, so Taxy here was only counting one up in the sky.

My program forced the drone to shoot down to the pavement, switching on its camera and redundancy as it went, and I clung to the harness with all I had.

Taxy swerved, and I saw the guardrail coming. Then I was weightless and there was just a wall of water in front of me. Taxy and I crashed through the surface of the river then bobbed back up before I had time to think.


Found it! It was a Motherboard short story.

One Star

Pastebin duplicate.

Edit: Thank you to FuzzyBoots for providing a complete answer; I wasn't sure if I would be adding superfluous content to my answer by quoting the relevant portions of the story. I will leave my answer as-is as an example for others.

  • ^_^ It's hard to be superfluous here. We do discourage just dumping the entirety of a Wikipedia entry here (and we do require people to cite their sources and indicate quotes to avoid plagiarism), but answers are also required to indicate why they are correct. Links die, so they're only good as supplements to an actual answer.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 14:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.