An autonomous vehicle, also known as a self-driving vehicle or driverless vehicle, is a vehicle that can sense its environment and move with little to no human input. Autonomous technology is already being developed by companies like Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes. Big tech giants like Apple and Google are also experimenting with autonomous vehicle technology. Fully autonomous technology has not been perfected and is still in advanced testing phases, but partially automated technology has been around for some time. Parking assist, lane change assist, and other technology has been implemented successfully by BMW, Tesla, and others.
The United States Congress has held hearings in both chambers to help educate the public on autonomous vehicles and the benefits that come with the technology. Federal officials have taken a more hands-off approach to regulation and legislation as it relates to the development of this technology, leaving several states to put in place laws and regulations to encourage Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) to develop and test their autonomous vehicles in their individual states. Though the states have given OEMs different environments to work in, it became increasingly clear that more substantive federal rules would be needed to provide OEMs with a more concise and consistent framework within which they could develop and test autonomous vehicles.
In September of 2017, the House of Representatives passed by voice vote H.R. 3388, the SELF DRIVE Act. This Act requires the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to enact safety guidelines for OEM’s to follow when manufacturing autonomous vehicles under 10,000 pounds. The bill also prohibits any state from implementing rules for design, construction, or performance of a Highly Autonomous Vehicle (HAV) or component, which exceeds the federal guidelines, while allowing states to continue setting their own rules for the licensing, registering, safety training, and insurance requirements for autonomous vehicles.
Subsequently, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Technology Committee held a hearing on whether autonomous trucks should be included in the AV START Act, the Senate version of the SELF DRIVE Act. Ultimately, trucks were not included in the language of the Senate bill even though industry support was at a high. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) withdrew his inclusion of HAV trucks in the AV START Act to continue working with Chairman John Thune (R-SD) on a path forward for autonomous vehicles. We can be sure that in the next few years, legislation around autonomous trucks will be included.
Many of the issues surrounding autonomous vehicles is access to data. Who will own the data of autonomous technology? OEM’s, owners, or the government? One thing is for certain, with the obvious signs that other countries are affecting our elections and day to day business, these vehicles will have to be protected. Cybersecurity has become a popular topic around the globe.
As technology advances with autonomous vehicles, the technology surrounding cybersecurity must advance with it, to protect the vehicle’s inhabitants and other innocent bystanders. This solution must be lightweight in terms of taking up system resources, sit below the operating system, be proactive in nature and must work 100% of the time. The current reactive approach to securing endpoints will not work, because before you can patch the software a hacker will find an exploit in the system and cause irreparable damage to who knows how many vehicles and people. Securing autonomous vehicles is just as important, if not more so than the autonomous technology itself. It is time to start thinking differently regarding autonomous vehicles and cybersecurity. The fact is that the future is autonomous, and cybersecurity needs to proactive in nature and must work 100% of the time, every time.
If you have any questions or comments about autonomous vehicles, please contact Graham Hall at 571-447-5002 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions about Cyber Security, please contact Wes Horn at 571-447-5009 or by email at email@example.com.