Technology is a great thing for the most part.
Within the last few months alone, I’ve written about some fantastic new advances in technology including solar-powered roadways and collision warning and automatic braking systems in the highest-rated new cars.
And though the jury is still out on Google’s self-driving cars – at least from my perspective as a car accident attorney – there is little doubt that in-car computer systems are become more and more the norm, even if they merely handle relatively simple systems such as the engine temperature, anti-lock brakes, or cruise control.
That is just the beginning, though. Within just the past six months, both Ford and Audi have made headlines by introducing cars that can parallel park themselves.
But there is a dark side to all this new technology.
Up until this point, my primary concern is that additional screens in our vehicles give greater opportunities for motorists to take their eyes off the road. As if distracted driving wasn’t already such a major problem!
Another valid concern is that of computer hackers remotely infecting cars with viruses which could cause them to crash or to slam on their brakes as soon as you hit 60 mph on the freeway.
It might sound like science fiction, but it is very much a real thing.
According to a recent report, approximately 30 percent of auto manufacturers have what are termed “obvious vulnerabilities” in their vehicles’ computer systems. This means vulnerabilities such as easily discoverable backdoors, allegedly making them an easy target for even the most inexperienced of hackers.
Car makers are aware of these potentially catastrophic problems, but for the most part they are happy to ignore them. In fact, most of the known vulnerabilities are only corrected when they are made public by altruistic hackers publishing so-called “drop 0day” bug publications. Only after these full disclosures of the problem will the company in question take the problem seriously and step in to fix it.
I’ll be honest, this issue is a little over my head. But it is certainly worrying in the wake of the revelation that GM purposefully hiding the fact they knew there were issues with the defective ignition-switch.
It makes me worried that there are a lot of other safety issues with our vehicles that no-one is willing to admit publically.