Governments across different countries have been asked by a number of industry players, including trade groups and consumer groups, to develop regulations that define what 'safe' and 'secure' means for a driverless vehicle. The AV START Act would be a good place to begin with the ultimate goal being to have a globally harmonized policy.
The AV START Act, introduced by Senators John Thune and Gary Peters in September 2017, calls for the federal government to develop performance standards for autonomous vehicles.
Requirements of the proposed framework include having vehicles meet standards of hardware and software system safety – for instance how a vehicle communicates with infrastructure such as traffic signals and pavement markings – and supply chain cybersecurity measures with mechanisms to alert passengers of vulnerabilities.
Federal government regulations and safety standards are key to delivering the much needed focus on safety and bringing the envisioned benefits of autonomous vehicles to fruition. Without them the technology is in danger of being made available before it is ready.
Importantly, the safety buck does not stop once the car has been built. Sophisticated tools and infrastructure are a must have to monitor a vehicles security position in-field. In today's increasingly connected world the cybersecurity landscape is changing constantly, making it important to scan a vehicle's software for vulnerabilities on an ongoing basis even after it has left the manufacturer.
Additionally, driver monitoring poses privacy concerns. The systems cannot only assess and log if you are doing something other than looking at the road, they can also evaluate how tired you are and determine your mood and emotions through constant visual and vocal assessment. The possibilities this would present to players, such as hackers and insurance firms, will do little to benefit you.
As the future is brought to reality, your security and safety must be put at the forefront.
Commentary by John Chen, executive chairman and CEO of BlackBerry. BlackBerry is currently developing software for next-generation driverless cars and has partnered with companies such as Bosch, Denso, Nvidia and China's Baidu to work on automotive software. Follow him on Twitter @
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