Thursday, March 3, 2016

Automated car accident and risk of control

Google’s self-driving car caused a collision for the first time on 14th Feb 2016.

ITProPortal: One of Google’s self-driving cars has its first accident

The car scratched the body of a bus in the accident. Fortunately, it resulted in minor cosmetic damages of both vehicles, and no one was injured. Google is withholding the determination of the cause of this accident but seems consider that the self-driving car is liable.

This kind of accidents is actually predictable, as far as there are many cars driven by a human on the road. It is not for the first time for Google to face malfunction of Google cars. I think this accident would not interfere the planning of Google to send automated cars to the market.

My past entry: Google car meet the first crash

On the other hand, there is another, and bigger worry about the self-driving car.

My past entry: Driverless car experiment in Japan

My past entry: Google auto-driving car to launch

Recently, one of popular series of electric cars was reported to have a vulnerability. Through the security hole, some functions equipped with the car will be controlled by a hacker remotely.

International Business Times: Hacker takes control of Nissan electric vehicle from other side of the world through Leaf app

This type of vehicle is not an automated car. Even if it is completely compromised, the driver would never be thrown out from the cliff. But in the case of a self-driving car, the issue will be far more serious. Of course, Google, as well as other companies developing the OS loaded in the car, is eager to defend the computer from external attacks. Nonetheless, there is no perfect protection as far as the system is connected to the internet. An ultimate solution to save the vehicle is to shut down the CPU manually. It requires that the driver is awake and aware of the situation. It means that we cannot expect the self-driving car which bring you to the destination during asleep.

My past entry: Hacking a car experiment

In the future, however, the grand figure of the highway will change. Most of the vehicles will be automated. And a few operators will watch the total traffic based on the information analyzed by the computer. At this time, cars will be no more cars, but resemble moving roads. If the entire stream is in order, crackers are difficult to disturb the traffic. I dream such a fantastic city.

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