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Keeping automated cars safe from cyber hackers

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Premier automobile manufacturers such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz continue to compete against each other on the technological front. The automotive industry is soaring forward and the new generation of automated cars are great cause for excitement. Major manufacturers are embracing technological advancement and automated cars are fast becoming a reality.

The Mercedes E class will soon have the capacity to steer itself. Audi recently directed an unmanned RS7 around at a track at race-car speeds, and BMW’s new Series 7 model parks itself and responds to hand gestures. Each of these vehicles already possess automated cruise control and self-braking systems, and the focus on taking the responsibility of driving out of human hands and placing it in those of the machine is set to continue.

Concerns have been expressed about security, but each of these major manufacturers has revealed contingency plans to combat and thwart cyber attacks. These include encrypted connections and firewalls to protect entertainment and safety systems. As cars become more complex, manufacturers are inevitably challenged with making them safe as well as keeping up with advancements in hacking technology.

According to Hitachi, approximately 90% of vehicles in Europe will be connected to the internet by 2020. Cars are increasingly evolving into mobile devices that can find restaurants, intuitively and safely park themselves and alert emergency services in the event of an accident. Connected cars will have certain vulnerabilities, but Mercedes, BMW and Audi have stated that they separate different vehicle domains, create a barrier between certain systems with sophisticated firewall technology and add extra features such as virus scanners and public-key-cryptography.

As the development of automated vehicles progresses all manufacturers will focus much of their attention on security. The way that cars are developed will alter as manufacturers will have to take security for connected vehicles into account from the very beginning of the design phase. The future will involve carmakers and suppliers spending a great deal of time and effort on defining unique and impenetrable security architectures. The future presents exciting motor trade recruitment opportunities on a global basis.