Hack­ing fears cloud self-driv­ing push

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY KEITH LAING Detroit News Wash­ing­ton Bureau

— 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 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 re­searchers in a re­al­world test that in­cluded dis­abling the SUV’s en­gine func­tions and con­trol­ling the air con­di­tion­ing, locks and ra­dio. That led to a re­call of 1.4 mil­lion Fiat Chrysler Au­to­mo­biles NV cars, SUVs and pick­ups to fix the 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

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