WHAT MAKES US so sure autonomous vehicles and robotic delivery carts are safe options for the future? Will those evil cyberhackers and ransomware masterminds suddenly come out of the shadows and have mercy on us?

More than $100 billion is being invested in these concept vehicles — driverless cars, self-driving cars, robotic vehicles — and they are being counted on by many companies in the supply-chain and logistics industries which offer solutions to what is referred to as the last-mile problem.

Hundreds of companies are betting these driverless vehicles will be routinely used to make long-haul freight deliveries; deliver groceries, pizzas, restaurant orders, online-ordered packages and retail store purchases.

No one wants to leave the house and go shopping anymore. A whole new industry wants to replace mail delivery and package carriers, think UPS and FedEx, which require a costly fleet of vehicles and drivers. Seems crazy, doesn’t it?

The food-delivery start-up DoorDash based in San Francisco, Calif., was recently valued at $12.6 billion. European food-delivery start-up Deliveroo has the financial support of Amazon. Are these revolutionary disruptions to the world order solving problems we don’t know we have?

An autonomous car is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input. They detect surroundings using radar, GPS, odometry and computer vision. Advanced control systems interpret sensory information to identify appropriate navigation paths as well as obstacles and relevant signage.

Count me as a skeptic. What could possibly go wrong? At the current time, the new technology required for autonomous vehicles would cost more than $100,000 per unit. The experts said the key to widespread acceptance would be getting a majority of people to opt in to the service.

Visionaries said the basic technology is already being used in warehousing and the major airline industry, and will soon be a reality on U.S. roadways, but a major hurdle will be if the government regulators can keep up with these innovative advancements.

By solving one problem we tend to create dozens of other problems that have so far stumped our brightest minds. Cybercriminals and hackers working around the world lie in wait to extort us and hold us hostage at work, at home, in our vehicles and on our phones.

Authorities tell us that by 2021, there will be nearly 50 billion devices worldwide connected to the internet. Criminals can find ways to hack into those devices and demand that you pay $50, $500, $50,000 or $5 million to regain control of them.

It’s called ransomware. The thieves have targeted financial institutions, power companies, hospitals and medical centers, airports, police stations, 911 call centers, credit card companies, government agencies and cities like Atlanta, Ga., and Baltimore, Md. Suspects operate from places like Iran and Russia where the FBI can’t get to them.

Baltimore has been hit twice already including in May. Hackers demanded an undisclosed sum to unlock computers. If they don’t pay the ransom, it could take months to recover some of the vital systems.

Ransomware attacks are common in public and private sectors. Most entities can’t afford the expensive defensive systems or the insurance premiums forcing executives to gamble on the lesser of two evils.

Hackers target victims with old systems. They either encrypt files or steal hundreds of millions of personal data files. Those files can then be sold to other cyberthieves. The hackers demand ransom payments to unlock the files.

Hackers can shut down a hospital or an emergency response system by making systems inaccessible. Lives are put at risk if ransom payments aren’t made. Now imagine those hackers targeting autonomous vehicles across the country and demanding $50 from each owner.

Research organizations estimate that ransomware will cost businesses more than $75 billion a year. The average cost of an attack on businesses last year was $133,000. Some paid $5,000 while a few may have paid millions in ransom. That doesn’t include the cost of damage to their company’s infrastructure.

Cybersecurity Ventures said a new organization is being attacked every 14 seconds in 2019 and by 2021, that will drop to every 11 seconds.

What are a few advantages of autonomous driving vehicles? Well, the experts said there would be fewer accidents. Car crashes are caused by human error 81% of the time. There would be fewer deaths and injuries.

There could be much lower auto insurance and health care costs. Traffic would flow more efficiently as the car’s computers would communicate and identify traffic problems, and there would be less congestion because vehicles would flow in what is being called platooning, an organized methodology.

Then, we have the problems to be worked out. Bad weather such as heavy rain and snow could cause technology failures. There could be power failures in which traffic signals malfunction and GPS maps would go haywire. GPS maps would need to be updated every second.

There could be a million unforeseen circumstances, and no computer system can anticipate them all and react in a split second. Some people will refuse to use autonomous vehicles and some simply enjoy sitting behind the wheel of their car. They will not give up control. No system will eliminate all traffic accidents and prevent road rage.