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article imageShould we be worried about the Internet of Cars?

By Tim Sandle     Jul 9, 2017 in Internet
Developments with autonomous cars have received considerable attention recently as the technology advances. This has led some to consider going beyond the self-driving car to discuss the ‘Internet of cars’.
Two concepts that are reasonably well-established: autonomous vehicles (or ‘self-driving’ vehicle’s), where a computer takes over the responsibilities of the human driver; and the Internet of Things, which describes an array of interconnected devices, could be coming together. By this some technology commentator mean the ‘Internet of Cars’.
The reason for considering what is, in essence, cars that can communicate directly with each other is to enhance safety. Evidence that this is happening comes from reports that Hyundai and Cisco are working on a hardware platform for a connected car concept. This includes secure, high-speed connectivity via Ethernet and modes of data collection.
According to John Dvorak car networking describes both the system within the car and between cars. With the former, in car connectivity, this is about such things as the wiring harness that comprises of wires making point-to-point connections with the buttons and switches on the dashboard being replaced by a network cable.
With the second area, car-to-car connectivity (networking), this means a collection of vehicles driving along a road can "talk" to each other as a traffic control mechanism. The rationale for this is based on safety and to minimize collisions between autonomous cars.
Beyond safety considerations, developments with such technology could lead to self-driving cars exchanging passenger and destination information with each other. For businesses this could assist with the coordination of fleets of cars used as taxis or for coordinating deliveries.
READ MORE: Japan to operate self-navigating cargo ships soon
The risks with such an approach are vulnerabilities to hacking or with a computer network going down, creating the image of a nightmare scenario of a multiple car crashes. More minor malfunctions could lead to doors locking or unlocking at inappropriate times; windscreen wipers turning on or not; cars stalling and a host of other concerns.
The extent to which these may or may not occur is open to conjecture and a new industry of anti-malware code writing could well arise to prevent interconnected cars from becoming vulnerable to attack.
In related autonomous vehicle news, it’s been reported that self-driving car developers in Australia, such as Volvo, have to contend with a particularly challenging obstacle: kangaroos. Volvo Australia's Technical Manager David Pickett has told the Australian Broadcasting Company that the unusual way the marsupials move confuses the company's autonomous vehicles. This means further development work.
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