How Safe is Your Self-driving Car?

Autonomous car sensor system concept for safety of driverless mode car control

But the truth is that all systems that have been computerized are at risk of being hacked. Software developers are always on their toes trying to find new ways to keep information safe from malicious third parties. Any car that is connected to the internet is at risk of being hijacked or operated remotely.

Software developers have admitted that it is extremely difficult to produce software that is without any loopholes. The more complex the software is, the more vulnerable it becomes to cyber attacks. As we have already seen, the software employed by automated car manufacturers is complex, receiving and processing information from several radars and mapping routes.

Research shows that autonomous cars are susceptible to cyber hacking from a remote location. They were able to operate the car’s system and control acceleration, braking, and even the windscreen wipers while the car was in motion and even move it to a location of their choosing. This raises many concerns for automated car users.

Because this is a matter of public safety, automakers take the safety and cybersecurity of their customers very seriously.

How are Self-driving Cars Accessed and Controlled?

Cyber hacking is defined as the act of gaining illegal entry into a computer program using algorithm-cracking code. This software “cracks” or solves complex problems or algorithms that provide passwords and code to enter a computer network. This can give the hacker access to all the information or tools included in the computer system.

Because self-driven cars make use of cameras to assess their surroundings, hackers can control the travel of the vehicle by viewing its location on a map and redirecting it to a path of his or her choice.

Because cyber attacks allow an unauthorized person access to the acceleration and braking of a vehicle, the lives of drivers and passengers are endangered. Terrorists could make use of cyber hacking for malicious purposes, or cars could be hacked to cause collisions or traffic jams to suit the hacker’s intent.

Here is a summary of how hackers can take over your vehicle through cyber attacks:

  • They can access pressure monitoring. This monitoring program alerts the driver to low or high tire pressure. Hacking this system also allows a hacker to track your location remotely.
  • Braking. Accessing this system allows hackers the opportunity to slow your car down or stop it completely.
  • Diagnostics. Tampering with the diagnostic system could lead users to falsely believe that their vehicle needs repair.
  • Changing Other Features. Smaller changes like changing the radio or altering the time can be unnerving to a driver.
  • Acceleration. Acceleration controlled by a third party can be extremely dangerous.
  • Door Locking. Interfering with your car’s locking mechanism can provide great opportunities for thieves.
  • Accessing connected devices. Your personal data may be at stake should hackers access your smartphone.

The Pros and Cons of Owning a Self Driving Car

Let us begin the discussion by analyzing the pros and cons of automated vehicles. Are automakers simply out to exploit you?

The Pros

  • Automated automobiles can provide greater road safety by reducing the number of road accidents. The average number of deaths that occur due to road accidents in the United States each day is over 100. The use of artificial intelligence eliminates negligence and risky behavior, helping to prevent road accidents.
  • People with disabilities, such as those with walking impediments, blindness, or deafness benefit greatly from autonomous vehicles and contribute to their independence.
  • Because an autonomous vehicle could help reduce road accidents, they in turn help to reduce medical and vehicle parts-related expenses. A low accident history could also decrease insurance company bills.
  • Having a vehicle take care of the driving could allow for greater levels of productivity.
  • A higher amount of autonomous vehicles on the road means fewer traffic jams.
  • There are environmental benefits to using a self driving car too. Autonomous vehicles promote the use of electric cars, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Cons

• Hackers are continuously deriving new ways to hack into systems, so your automated vehicle may be at risk of being hacked.

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