Future Processing on why you shouldn’t get CARried away by smart cars? Carjacking car security independent cars autonomous vehicles

Why shouldn’t you get CARried away by smart cars?

date: 10 December 2015
reading time: 5 min

If in 1908 someone told Henry Ford that almost 110 years later cars will be robot-like entities with intelligence of their own, we bet he wouldn’t believe it for a minute. Would his first question be ‘What are robots?’ or maybe he’d be more interested in ‘Why?’ and ‘How?’.

Let us answer these questions for you.

Car industry is bending over backwards to impress us, but what does it have in stock?

Recently Mercedes came up with a plan for a new service that they plan to introduce to their most respected clients who don’t have time to drive a car, however still need means of transportation – self-driving limousines.

It seems like an excellent solution because not only will the limousines cater to Mercedes clients’ needs as quickly as possible, they are also said to be at least 35% cheaper than taxis. The service will be compatible with simultaneously released app, allowing its user to hail and pay for the ride. The bad news is that we won’t be able to experience it soon – the service won’t be available until 2025.

Getting back to more ordinary reality, did you notice the huge shift in the way we understand the use of cars? How much has really changed?

Right now, you and your phone can be fully integrated with the vehicle. Android and iOS devices can actually do most actions for you, letting you focus on driving and increasing your safety. The moment your device is plugged in, it becomes locked and reacts only to voice commands. The voice control can do things from changing a song, through checking a route to calling your boss. No hand-use necessary!

However, it all comes with a price, since connectivity increases the level of security threats.

Let’s take driverless cars connected to the Internet for example, which is truly a blessing in disguise. They are to facilitate to driver’s every need, however first, the driver needs to trust a soulless machine the reliability of which depends on unknown developer’s skills.

Bearing in mind a complete lack of control over driving, using such cars seem like a brave decision. Especially considering that the results of recently conducted tests proved that in critical situations the control should be given to human-passenger of such cars.

We all remember the days when the smallest problems could have been fixed in the privacy of our garage – right now it isn’t this simple.

Cars come bundled with sophisticated technologies which can only be handled by professionals and even though car companies do their best to make their cars impossible to hack, this year we’ve all noticed that it’s not that hard at all.

Keyless entry solutions are the easiest to compromise however, it is not all. We all recall the example of Chrysler cars, which were affected because of its multimedia system, Uconnect. Hackers were able to manipulate every action, from changing songs to running into a truck. It is the Bluetooth system that is usually the culprit since it is often on the same network as brakes and steering wheel. What is worse, the most hackable cars are usually those most popular ones.

Nevertheless, there is one company that has thought everything through – Tesla. Hackers tried to find its vulnerabilities for over two years now – finally they found one which has been patched extremely quickly. This is not all, it was only possible to hack the car if they had been in its proximity.

Tesla also equipped its clients with other security reinforcements like handling unexpected power loss where hand brake and steering wheel will switch from automatic to manual in case of emergency. That might be the reason why it was called ‘the most secure car ever seen’ by the hackers.

After reading that you may wonder if there are circumstances when car producers use the latest technologies to our disadvantage. Well, there are. These aren’t situations connected with security per se, however, environmentally they are a problem. You probably already know that what we have in mind is Volkswagen blunder.

For those of you who haven’t heard – Volkswagen manipulated the engines of its diesel cars during emission testing to fake-decrease the CO2 emission figures. At the moment almost 800,000 cars have been affected and the company is to face fraud charges.

Latest technologies move forward very quickly, so quickly it is sometimes hard to keep up with them. It’s only a matter of time when we’ll have cars thinking for us. However before we get too excited about the bright and colourful side of the novelty, let’s stop for a moment and think about the threats it may bring.

It’s hard to fight the new, however being ‘smart’ is always in fashion.

 

 

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