Automotive

The Important Link Between Autonomous Vehicles and Cybersecurity

As demonstrated by the world’s leading autonomous vehicle technology exhibition, there are several firms around the world who are working to determine and develop the future of self-driving transport.

In addition to technological advancements, one of the biggest challenges relates to security. Read on to learn about the important link between autonomous vehicles (AV) and cybersecurity.

Is cybersecurity the most significant threat for autonomous vehicles?

There is no denying that as AV technology continues to develop, cybersecurity is going to be a key consideration. After all, this isn’t an issue that is solely reserved for the cars themselves, but also the interconnected environment that will be generated to maintain the vehicles.

Before AV technology can become widespread, there needs to be more focus on ensuring that smart cities can protect individuals, roads, and buildings from a cybersecurity breach.

Unfortunately, the risks connected with hacking autonomous vehicles and the encompassing infrastructure are high and can lead to the endangerment of communities. That is why cybersecurity initiatives need to include not only the vehicles but also the surrounding environments — traffic lights, roads, and other infrastructure.

These elements need to be especially secure, particularly as they are highly susceptible to tampering by political actors and other groups.

While there are several motivations for why an individual or group may want to hack a system, there are two main risks associated with it. First of all, the risk of a third party procuring control of vehicles or the neighboring infrastructure, and the risk of a third party obtaining an individual’s personal information.

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How can the risks of hacking AV be decreased?

Cybersecurity needs to be a significant focus for any business involved with autonomous vehicle technology. Contractual frameworks must incorporate strong protections for precious and safety-critical data and systems.

First and foremost, during the design process of autonomous vehicles, cybersecurity risks need to be studied. There is a far greater chance of cyber resilience being maintained if it is ascertained as early as possible (rather than retroactively).

Additionally, manufacturers of these vehicles need to produce a cybersecurity plan which includes details such as how they will detect and respond to cyberattacks, unauthorized access, and false communications or vehicle control demands.

Furthermore, they must designate an officer or team accountable for managing cybersecurity. Last but not least, these manufacturers are expected to describe the organization’s methods for employee training and employee access to autonomous driving systems.

What role does the government play in autonomous vehicles and cybersecurity?

Due to the slow nature of law-making, it is not feasible for the law to strive to create rigid cybersecurity standards as they are likely to become out-of-date swiftly. Therefore, these cybersecurity strategies need to be primarily industry-regulated.

However, that isn’t to say that the government has no role. Instead, governments should seek to help with developing guidance and coordinating cybersecurity information sharing. As the technology matures, there will be field to expand these initiatives and increase transport-specific cybersecurity.

How will cybersecurity processes develop?

Of course, just as with the AV technology itself, the management of related cybersecurity will be a perpetually evolving process. However, it can’t be overstated how critical it is to have secure autonomous vehicles. Not only that but also how crucial it is that software updates and refreshes can be reliably and securely completed during its usable lifetime.

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Constant monitoring of possible causes of failure will be crucial, as well as contingency strategies capable of being summoned as soon as a fault is identified. After all, for there to be a new world of autonomous vehicles and smart cities, it is paramount that a swift return to a safe state of operations can happen once an incident has occurred. Otherwise, user confidence is quickly going to evaporate.

If you are interested in learning more about this technology, purchase your Dubai self-driving transport congress tickets today.

What do you think about the link between autonomous vehicles and cybersecurity?

Let us know your thoughts and any relevant experiences in the comments below!

AUTHOR BIO

Ahmed Bahrozyan is the Chief Executive Officer of the Public Transport Agency – Roads and Transport Authority in the United Arab Emirates which is responsible for providing for the needs of public transport in the city. He is also Chairperson of the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport organizing committee. 

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