Tesla's lawsuit against former employee Martin Tripp alleges that he hacked computer systems to steal intellectual property, not to harm drivers of the company's cars.
But the idea that a malicious insider could successfully tamper with software used in the vehicles' battery testing process is more fodder for worst-case scenarios raised by lawmakers over self-driving cars.
In May, the House Financial Services Committee discussed how autonomous vehicles could impact the insurance industry. It was the third Congressional hearing on the safety of autonomous cars in the past year. A bill to create a "Driving System Cybersecurity Advisory Council" within the Department of Transportation was introduced in July 2017 to create standards and controls over testing and deploying self-driving cars. It's one of four current bills circulating in Congress to deal with the lack of federal standards regulating the security of systems that make and operate self-driving cars.
"There are a number of people out there that are somewhat resistant to entrusting their lives with autonomous vehicles," said Sen. Sean Duffy (R, Wisconsin) at the most recent hearing.