Reports over the weekend that Tesla could be the latest carmaker to add autonomous features to its products is being greeted with excitement, but experts are concerned that the new industry technology could be susceptible to sinister cybercriminal activity.
Egil Juliussen, director of research for infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems at research group IHS Automotive, told CNBC via email that electronics systems in cars currently have no or very limited security measures.
"The economic opportunities are very different for car systems than PCs, tablets and smartphones. There is very little information in the car that can be easily turned into revenue for the average hacker," he said.
"Instead the reason for hacking and controlling cars are more sinister, such as creating traffic chaos, murder-for-hire, cyber warfare and related terrorist acts."
Juliussen deals out the worst-case scenario but believes that intellectual property theft may be the most common hacking reason in the future, or denting an auto manufacturer's reputation and liability issues. The FBI also remains concerned. An unclassified report obtained by the U.K. newspaper The Guardian in July said that the agency was predicting that autonomous cars may be used as "lethal weapons."