Its predicted that 200m connected cars will be on the roads by 2020, but theres a risk that more technology will lead to more hacking
A threshold was quietly crossed in the first quarter of 2016. For the first time, mobile carriers reported activating more connected cars than phones.
At a vehicle tech demonstration in Manhattan this month, a group of reporters stood around a custom-made, tablet-screened display console as Darrin Shewchuk, a spokesman for Harman International, explained the impending technological revolution.
Harman, a company long known for its high-end stereo equipment, is working with Samsung to make sure even more vehicles get connected.
There will be more than 200m connected vehicles on the road around the world by 2020, Shewchuk said, outlining Harmans partnership with Samsung to create a new generation of in-vehicle technology.
A blue-tinted graphic appeared on the consoles screen depicting the vague outline of a human form floating in the midst of a number of devices phone, car, smart house. White tendrils radiated from the humanoid towards its various gadgets. The idea behind this scenario is that your devices can know who you are (based upon usage patterns) and where you are, thereby providing the best possible experience according to your situation. Harmony prevails in the idyllic blue-graphic microcosm.
But in the minds of anyone who has seen Terminator or any number of other dystopian future-themed films, questions about security inevitably arise. Consensus in the industry is that automating vehicle functions and allowing them to communicate with one another will be a boon to safety and traffic reduction, and that over-the-air software updates will be the best way to fix bugs and make improvements. But even the champions of this cure-all technology admit theres always a possibility that something could go wrong.
Washington, which has done little so far to help or hinder the rise of the robot car, is finally stepping in. A bill that would speed up development of self-driving cars and establish a federal framework for their regulation, the Highly Automated Vehicle Testing and Deployment Act of 2017, is now working its way through Congress.
Chinese security researchers have twice demonstrated they can control a Tesla Model X via web and cellular connections. Using its web browser, researchers were able to control the cars electronically controlled brakes, lights and doors.
There isnt such a thing as 100% cyber-proof, Dvir Reznik, the senior marketing manager for Harmans automotive cybersecurity division, said in an email. Car manufacturers and Tier 1 [technology] vendors such as Harman have come together to draft, design and deploy cybersecurity standards and best practices to keep our connected and autonomous cars protected.
Car makers and tech companies understand that people are worried. In 2015, the automakers set up the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center to share best practices and help design multi-layer hardware and software systems that are much more difficult to hack. In the US, the tech crowd is also working with Congress and the department of transportation to establish federal guidelines related to cybersecurity.