Self-driving cars used to be artificial intelligence of the imagination, represented only in the sci-fi tropes of media. But as automotive and technology industries are rapidly producing more autonomous vehicles, self-driving cars will likely become a fixture in modern life.
The benefits of self-driving vehicles are vast, with safety being the most prevalent. The technology has already been promoted to eliminate categories of common accidents, increasing the welfare of other drivers and pedestrians. Accidents due to drunk or distracted driving may be a thing of the past. In these cases, the car would safely drive itself, while the “driver” is free to pay attention to other matters.
However, there are cyber risks in creating and using this technology. Researchers found ways to hack in to the wireless connection in a Jeep Cherokee. This hacked wireless connection provided control over audio, air conditioning and the transmission — causing the vehicle to halt in the middle of a highway. Though the technology system may provide an overall safer driving experience, a hacked connection can lead to catastrophic incidents. This potential for hacking leads to other issues: who will bear the burden of liability, and how will insurance companies handle these conflicts?
While self-driving cars are quickly becoming more common, cybersecurity must be researched and increased before usage of this type of technology becomes prolific.