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What Happens When A Cybercriminal Breaks Into Your Autonomous Vehicle?

In less than five years, it’s estimated that there is going to be at least 10 million automated vehicles on American roadways. Being able to hop in the car and go without the stress of driving or looking at road maps seems a blessing, but is it? Like all electronics, an automated vehicle can be corrupted. If you’re left out of control of the vehicle and an accident ensues, what happens then? Will your auto insurance provider cover the damages if you technically weren’t the one driving? What can the public expect with the rise of the automated vehicle?

Is There Such a Thing as ‘Impenetrable’?

Automakers such as Audi, Ford and Tesla (among a slew of others) are developing autonomous vehicles set for road travel by the year 2020. This is a huge achievement in transportation technologies, but like all good things, it comes at a price. Autonomous vehicles, much like your computer or smart devices, can be hacked, as proven by a group of Virginia-based researchers.

Funded by the Defense Department, Mission Secure Inc. (MSi) and Perrone Robotics Inc. worked in concert with one another to prove that a determined and skilled cybercriminal can break into your automated vehicle’s network and take over the workings of your car. The research team was able to manipulate acceleration speeds, braking speeds, the GPS navigational system and other automated features.

In proving that the system could be hacked, MSi and Perrone Robotics hoped to show automated vehicle companies that technology could be created to prevent hackers from getting into the vehicle and causing catastrophic damage. The group developed a technology that can counteract the determined efforts of the cybercriminal in real time. This means that if a hacker tries to disable the breaks in your automated vehicle, the technology developed by MSi and Perrone Robotics will prevent it from happening just as soon as it starts. Still at work on the hack-proof technology, MSi, Perrone Robotics and the University of Virginia have their product patent pending, while the United States military and energy and transportation industries have already put in a call for the product to use in their fields.

Protecting What’s Yours: The Automated Vehicle

Despite promising that this new technological product will help prevent a hacker from infiltrating your system, no one will know how successful it is until the statistics show the number of cyber breach attempts made on automated vehicles.

It’s theorized that auto insurance premium costs will go down with the rise of the automated vehicle due to the vehicle’s outstanding safety features, including blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warnings. What is not so certain is who will pay for the damages if the automated vehicle experiences a crash. The automaker could be faulted for a networking error, the driver could be faulted for not paying attention, or the accident could be the direct result of another driver not following driving protocol.

The thing of it is, no one knows exactly how auto insurers will handle automated vehicle crashes and run-ins until the issues are dealt with first-hand. What is known is that CoverHound will make it our mission to find you the best coverage. Click here to find your auto insurance plan today.

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Review personalized quotes, select coverages, and buy online - Everything insurance, all-in-one-place.
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