Initiative Aims To Tackle Cyber Threats As Self-Driving Cars Gain Traction

Tackle Cyber Threats

Two tech entities are teaming up to develop an industry-wide cybersecurity framework for autonomous vehicles in an effort to address cyber-related risks as companies look to take self-driving vehicles into the mainstream.

The Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), a nonprofit organization that promotes the advancement of uncrewed systems and robotics, said the framework will be based on cyber standards Fortress Information Security helped develop for the utilities industry. Fortress is a security service firm that protects critical industries from cybersecurity threats. 

“Uncrewed vehicles – air, ground, and maritime – are relied upon for national defense, public safety, commercial delivery, critical infrastructure inspection and more,” said Michael Robbins, the executive vice president of government & public affairs at AUVSI, in a statement Tuesday. 

“A cyber-secure foundation built on universal industry standards among industry stakeholders and suppliers will help to ensure the economic and operational potential of uncrewed vehicles is reached,” Robbins added.

AUVSI and Fortress said the framework should be completed in less than a year. 

A recent poll conducted by Fortress and AUVSI found that over 60 percent of U.S. consumers believe that cyberattacks targeting autonomous vehicles is “a big deal.” But at the same time, they also believe that an attack should not prevent the use of autonomous vehicles.

The polling also found that nearly 40 percent of consumers believe that self-driving cars will be seen on roads regularly within the next five years. 

Industry experts have warned that the shift to autonomous vehicles may pose greater cybersecurity risks as cars become increasingly connected to the internet to operate. 

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Although still hypothetical at this time, the experts said cyber attacks on autonomous vehicles are very much in the realm of possibility. 

In fact, two cybersecurity researchers proved that it was possible when they remotely hacked a Jeep Cherokee in 2015 to demonstrate the vulnerabilities of connected vehicles. 

The researchers were able to gain access to the car’s steering, transmission and brakes. The simulation hack prompted Fiat Chrysler to recall 1.4 million vehicles so it could install software to fix the vulnerabilities.