It sounds like the car hacking scene in Fate of the Furious.
As cars are equipped with more advanced technology that connects to the internet, there's a higher risk of them getting hacked by cunning cybercriminals. A recent investigation, for example, revealed that the Mercedes E-Class Sedan was surprisingly easy to hack until Mercedes deployed a software patch. Researchers were able to use the car's eSIM that connects to the internet to access the backend and control functions of the car remotely by using the manufacturer's companion app.
Automatic lane-keeping assists are becoming increasingly common and are designed to make driving safer by taking over control of the car at low speeds to keep it in the correct lane. From 2021, the Department for Transportation wants new cars in the UK to be equipped with automated lane-keeping systems as standard and has launched a consultation to determine the safety of this technology. However, researchers are concerned about the potential security risks this technology poses.
Antony Edwards, COO at intelligent automation specialists Eggplant, warns this technology could enable criminals to hack into the software, steal user data, and even control the car remotely. If an automatic lane-keeping system was hacked and remotely controlled, it's hard not to imagine the car hacking scene in Fate of the Furious becoming a reality.
"It is extremely important that this type of technology is constantly tested to detect errors and anomalies in the software," said Edwards in an interview with Express. "Autonomous driving opens up new opportunities but also risks. Ensuring driver and vehicle safety will always be a top priority. But in-vehicle technology also presents the challenge to protect drivers' personal data from getting into the wrong hands. Securing systems against hackers and effectively securing the systems against cyber-attacks is another facet that needs to be addressed."
The Department For Transportation's report will also assess whether adding the automatic lane keeping technology as standard equipment should make the cars legally defined as an "automated vehicle" and whether the technology will be safe to use at speeds of up to 70 mph.
While there are concerns about the security risks of the technology, other industry experts are confident it will reduce the number of injuries and deaths on the road. "Automated technologies for vehicles, of which automated lane keeping is the latest, will be life-changing, making our journeys safer and smoother than ever before and helping prevent some 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives over the next decade," said SMMT chairman Mike Hawes.