DUDE, WHERE’S MY CAR?
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.