Autonomous vehicles pose new challenges to future of cybersecurity
“With intelligent vehicles, there is a promise of saving tens of thousands of lives each year in the U.S. alone, around the world it is probably in the hundreds of thousands. And yet, at the same time, fear and distrust will cause people to abandon these technologies,” said Beau Woods, a cyber safety innovation fellow at the Atlantic Council, who spoke at an event sponsored by George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School and the R Street Institute.
Autonomous vehicles offer increased safety to users who are willing to step away from being “drivers” and to surrender control of their vehicles. This requires a high degree of public trust in the technology itself. As a result, cybersecurity will be nearly as important as crash testing for the new age of self-driving cars.
“In my estimation it is going to be a single fatality or very small number of fatalities that get people to say, ‘Wait, if I’m not driving that car, I’m not going to buy that,” said Woods.
Although autonomous vehicles are still in the testing phases, they have the potential to dramatically effect both national security and the economy. According to a recent report by R Street, the market for connected cars, which interface with the internet and with other cars on the road to facilitate information sharing, is predicted to see dramatic growth in the coming decade. These cars, which are not necessarily fully autonomous, are expected to grow from 5.1 million units in 2015 to 37.7 million units by 2022, an increase of more than 35 percent. Since more than 90 percent of crashes are attributed to human error, these shifts are predicted to save billions of dollars each year.