Before we get excited about the prospects of “smart” technology reaching our automobiles, we must remember that when we automate things, an entirely new list of dangers emerges. This key point isn’t lost on lawmakers, however, as the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation discussed the potential and existing dangers earlier this month.
With testimonies from members of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a variety of professionals involved in the integration of technology into our automobiles, key topics included the increase in distracted drivers and the security risks associated with fully-automated onboard systems.
Security concerns online are nothing new, but as we move into an age in which our automobiles have similar systems, does the risk for “attacks” on vehicles increase? Indeed, it does, which has become quite a concern for government officials.
The 5.9 GHZ segment of the communications spectrum, which is used in newly integrated vehicles, has come under fire from many officials, as it could leave the door open for remote controlling attempts. Much like we have seen with online cyber-attacks, a similar issue could arise that allows an international attach to cripple our transportation systems.
While many may consider these concerns to be “monsters under the bed”, the possibility of such an event is certainly worth of government consideration and attention.
As we consider how our vehicles may soon be able to communicate with each other, which can help to prevent collisions, we must also wonder how much Wi-Fi infrastructure is necessary to facilitate such a high concentration of information sharing.
It has been argued that our soon-to-be “smarter” vehicles can help to dramatically decrease highway fatality rates, while ensuring that we are leveraging all of the tools at our disposal to improve efficiency and, ultimately, maximize convenience. For now, however, the topic will continue to receive attention from the auto industry and federal officials.
We’ll keep you posted on any new developments that may help to shed some light on how our transportation infrastructure will be changing in the coming years.