DUDE, WHERE’S MY CAR?

InCar Entertainment  - - NEWS - Ed Kramer Editor

While the car au­dio in­dus­try is mak­ing on­go­ing and ever more heroic ef­forts to ex­pand online ac­ces­si­bil­ity by mar­ry­ing dig­i­tal de­vices with in-car en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems – Ap­ple’s Car Play and An­droid Auto be­ing the latest rev­e­la­tions – this vir­tual open door is see­ing a va­ri­ety of in­dus­tries run­ning in… even the in­sur­ance busi­ness, which you’d think would be en­tirely high-tech-less, is tap­ping into these tech­nolo­gies to ac­cess data from our ve­hi­cles’ elec­tron­ics sys­tems.

Telem­at­ics was a buzz word not so long ago but, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease we re­ceived re­cently, in-car in­fo­tain­ment sys­tems are be­ing used by in­sur­ance com­pa­nies as a point of ac­cess to em­bed­ded data on our driv­ing habits in or­der to ex­am­ine them just prior to a col­li­sion. In fact, two ma­jor auto man­u­fac­tur­ers, from Europe and Ja­pan, have formed an al­liance which has re­sulted in a data ac­qui­si­tion and stor­age sup­ply chain for em­bed­ded data apps. How this in­for­ma­tion would be used is a guess, at this stage, but we’d think that driv­ing pat­tern and be­hav­iour ex­am­i­na­tion would be high on the in­sur­ance in­dus­try’s data anal­y­sis list.

Fur­ther in­tru­sions, rather fright­en­ingly, into our online ve­hic­u­lar space have been re­ported by the global media and you’ll even find a host of You Tube videos, which have been viewed by mil­lions around the world, de­pict­ing the sub­ject. Just search for ‘Car­jack Hacks’ (see the Jeep one for some­thing quite star­tling but, some­how, also amus­ing). Lap­top-armed hack­ers take con­trol of a ve­hi­cle and steer it in­de­pen­dently of the driver who is shown to be pow­er­less in con­trol­ling the car. The pos­si­bil­i­ties for car thieves would be ab­so­lutely mouth-wa­ter­ing… One of these hacks was staged by a car man­u­fac­turer in or­der to test its own online in-car se­cu­rity sys­tems. The ‘Carhack’ was achieved with sur­pris­ing ease and had the car maker’s se­cu­rity pro­gram­mers swiftly cod­ing a more ro­bust se­cu­rity sys­tem. An ab­so­lutely in­fal­li­ble one would be our pref­er­ence.

So the wider the online uni­verse’s ex­pan­sion into all our de­vices and ma­chines (an es­ti­mated 90% of new cars will be con­nected within the next five years), the more sus­cep­ti­ble we be­come to foul play from viruses and hack­ing in­tru­sions. With the much-talked about on­set of self-driv­ing ve­hi­cles se­cu­rity is­sues re­gard­ing in-ve­hi­cle sys­tems – and even ex­tra-ve­hic­u­lar road­side nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems – will be­come the num­ber one pri­or­ity for car man­u­fac­tur­ers and ur­ban plan­ning and gov­ern­ment author­i­ties.

So per­haps in the fu­ture, as you fill-up at the gas or elec­tric re­fill sta­tion, you’ll si­mul­ta­ne­ously be down­load­ing the latest in-car sys­tems virus and hack­ing pro­tec­tion up­grade. Thumb drive in­deed.

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