Carmakers grapple with robot-car hacking fears

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 12:48:35 PM. Safety advocates say self-driving cars are vulnerable, and researchers have proven they can be tricked
Washington — Automakers are working to put self-driving cars on U.S. roads as quickly as they can, but developers are still grappling with questions about whether they can be hacked or tricked into making driving errors. Safety advocates have argued that self-driving cars are prime targets for hackers who specialize in computer takeovers. Others have pointed out that autonomous cars rely heavily on sensors and mapping devices to read traffic signs — and that could make them susceptible to sabotage if signs are altered in certain ways. “The current state of vehicles on the road today — the new, modern car, not even self-driving — have become rolling computers,” said John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s privacy project director. Simpson cited a 2015 hack of a non-self driving 2014 Jeep Cherokee by security researchers in a real-world test that included disabling the SUV’s engine functions and controlling the air conditioning, locks and the radio. That led to a recall of 1.4 million Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV cars, SUVs and pickups to fix the security flaw. “The vulnerability has been demonstrated and I think it’s only going to get worse with autonomous vehicles,” Simpson said. The debate about the potential vulnerability of self-driving cars to hackers is occurring as automakers and technology companies move to show they can operate cars without human drivers. Google’s self-driving car spinoff, Waymo, announced last week that driverless Chrysler Pacifica minivans will roam the...Read more
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