Driving Into the Future: Autonomous Vehicles

You drive to work, you drive in traffic, you drive home. But now there is another option: your car drives you.
Autonomous vehicles are here.
Autonomous cars are predicted to be as popular as the cell phone in less than a decade. In actuality, they are being developed for Uber and local transit which could replace most means of transportation as early as 2020. Ford, Toyota, and BMW have all committed to driverless vehicles within the next five years.
In fact, a recent McKinsey study found that revenue from autonomous driving and its accessories could total $1.5 trillion (USD) per year by 2030, on top of approximately $5.2 trillion (USD) in car sales and related products.
The only limitation is federal regulation- mainly that there is no specific legal barrier for liability yet. Currently, manufacturers self-certify that the vehicles are safe and are required to comply with all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. In actuality, 94 percent of crashes can be tied to human choice or error. Thus, autonomous cars could reduce the number and severity of crashes due to sensor technologies, such as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure, even reducing fuel consumption. Moreover, these vehicles can learn from the collective data of all autonomous cars in addition to human experiences.
Indeed, data sharing will become an important asset for companies, especially when considering the data storage of the vehicles they sell. However, data storage can also implicate consumers’ privacy and security in the case of a data breach. Other hazards could include silent operation, self-initiated or remote ignition, high voltage, and unexpected movement, all of which could pose a risk to emergency responders. It is crucial to a company’s bottom line to enhance cybersecurity in all aspects of the vehicle, especially to minimize risk of liability. After all, though Tesla’a Autopilot feature was recently cleared, new regulations say if any defect is found, all products will have to be recalled, regardless of how simple the solution’s implementation is, i.e: software updates.
Certifications are one way of performing this to ensure consumers’ trust remains intact while implementing a risk mitigation strategy. FIPS 140-2, Common Criteria, and listing on the DoD’s APL are used in all technologies for this very reason. Not only does this show initiative on the company’s part to go above and beyond the call of security, but it demonstrates leadership in setting the real standard for consumers’ well-being.

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