How Safe is Your Self-driving Car?

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

• Unemployment rates may increase with the increased use of self-driving cars as drivers become redundant.

• Car ownership may decrease as people rely more and more on autonomous taxi services, preventing the need to physically own a vehicle. This may result in grave consequences for the auto industry.

• Due to the reduction in road accidents thanks to the efficiency of automated vehicle technology, insurance companies may go out of business.

• The vehicle can malfunction, resulting in unpredictable movements of the vehicle, including traveling along paths other than the one specified by the user, sudden braking, and accelerating and stopping altogether.

• Autonomous vehicles cost a great deal of money.

Despite the dangers and risks associated with these smart cars, the benefits they promise are hard to ignore. As the technology develops, self-driving cars are expected to become more reliable and resistant to imminent attacks from cyber hackers.

How Many Have Died Because of Automated Cars?

The fatality rate of autonomous driving has been estimated to be 1 death per 320 million miles of autonomous travel. There is one known fatality that has been linked directly to self-driving cars. The person involved was crossing the street on a bicycle when an Uber self-driven car ran her over. The analysis of the incident showed that the pedestrian was not detected by the car’s radars because she was pushing along a bicycle, which may have confused the car’s detection system. The pedestrian did not make use of the pedestrian crossing while crossing the road and the driver did not intervene in time to prevent the collision.

This proves that automated cars can indeed malfunction. The system can experience a glitch, causing the vehicle to act unpredictably, endangering the lives of those in the vehicle. Some examples of what can go wrong include accelerating to dangerously high speeds, sudden braking, or halting altogether.

How to Improve Your Cybersecurity

There are steps that manufacturers and autonomous car users can take to minimize the risk of self-driven cars being hacked.

• Automakers can make use of several different networks for different cities. This reduces the chances of all the cars in a city or area being hacked at once.

• Changing the password regularly on your automated car can reduce the chances of an autonomous vehicle hack.

• Regular software updates mean that your car has the latest updates of security features, lowering the risk of anyone being able to hack your vehicle.

• Turning off your GPS can make a significant difference because it connects you to the internet, which is the means a hacker use to get into your car’s computer system, preventing them from getting data such as your physical address.

• Both users and manufacturers must make security a priority to prevent attacks. Users should only choose manufacturers who are serious about public safety and do not take shortcuts. Shortcuts in production could have grave consequences later.

• Drivers should get to know the limitations and strengths of their self-driving cars. They must also strive to understand the cyber security measures in place.

Millions of people worldwide lose loved ones to road accidents due to negligence or poor judgment. However, autonomous vehicles can reduce incidents by removing human error. They make use of complex technology that assesses a car’s surroundings and makes judgments controlled by computerized systems, mapping out an acceptable route to travel.

There are six categories that drivers can choose from that range in functionality. While higher categories require less human assistance, lower categories just provide human assistance.

Accidents and malfunctions were reported with automated cars, but the deaths related to autonomous vehicles are low when compared to those incurred due to driver error. This technology is however considerably new. More and more research is being conducted and developers are finding new ways to prevent malicious third parties from hacking autonomous vehicles.

This astounding technology has already taken the market by storm and companies like Tesla and Waymo have sold millions of cars to date. But, as with all computerized technologies, automated cars may always be at risk for attack. Despite the dangers and risks associated with self-driven cars, the future of this industry does look bright, with over 50 percent of business networks claiming to move to autonomous cars in the next two decades.


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