Autonomous cars at risk of being hijacked image

Even if robo-cars taking us to our destinations might sound like science fiction, the technology exists and it is largely ready for the real world. The hard part is examining what are the risks associated with the launch of such vehicles.

If car producers take the wheel, this means they are liable for suits triggered by car accidents. Besides that, cars would be exposed to threats from hackers who could hijack the vehicles and potentially control them from a distance, turning them into mules for criminal purposes or even using them as weapons.

Director of information protection at consulting company KPMG in Tonbridge, England stated that “A hacker could redirect a whole bunch of traffic to gridlock a city or even ‘kidnap people’. The risk goes from being one of human error on the part of the driver or road user to being human error on the part of a developer.”

Despite such worst-case scenarios, efforts to push the technology aren’t being delayed, as it is forecasted to become an $87 billion market by 2030, according to Boston-based Lux Research. Volkswagen AG joined the trend with the Golf’s self-directed parking feature revealed in the automaker’s August presentation, while Google Inc. unveiled a cartoonish prototype of a self-driving car in May.

By Gabriela Florea