As you wake up from your afternoon commute, you realize that your self-driving car has taken an unexpected detour into the front lawn of the police chief’s house. A hacker has used your car for a joyride while you were in the drivers seat.
The autonomous vehicle is expected to be the future of transportation but there are problems that need to be solved before it becomes a reality.
Assistant professor at Utah State University, Ryan Gerdes, leads a research group that was given a grant of $1.2 million to address the potential for malicious attacks from hackers.
“We have been tasked with looking at the security of the automated vehicles,” Gerdes says.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated there is a $871 billion economic loss from car accidents per year.
To really improve the transportation system, Gerdes says there will need a secure way for cars to connect to the road and to other cars.
“If we really want to have improvement we need vehicles to cooperate in several different ways,” he says.
A car that drives completely by itself may be a ways down the road, but features like an adaptive cruise control are available in some of the 2014 models on the market.
More information on automated vehicles.