Blog: Trust your vehicle electronics? Sure, but how far?
Dave Leggett | 18 May 2010
If history teaches us anything, it's that 'infallible' systems will probably fail at some point and that everyone makes mistakes. Machines don't make mistakes, but they are designed by humans who do.
How far do you trust your vehicle electronics? If you are like me, you probably don't give it much thought. Drive-by-wire and fly-by-wire are things not to dwell on if you want to stay sane. It's clever stuff and there are all kinds of checks to make sure that things work properly. And if they don't it's analogous to being struck by lightning while out for a stroll.
A thought does occur though, prompted by a just published study in the US. If vehicles start to get hooked up to the internet, could they start to be potentially vulnerable to malicious viruses? Imagine catching some nasty software virus in your car and where that might lead? A BBC report summarises some of the study's findings. Or you can read more detail in the 'Centre for Automotive Embedded Systems Security' study itself.
My guess is that these guys will be kept busy in the future.
In a similar how-far-do-you-trust-electronics vein, there was a recent safety demonstration of a Volvo collision avoidance system on an S60 that didn't quite go to plan. I'm sure all will be fine on production vehicles but what happens if a system like that fails – whose responsibility is it after the accident? As ever, lawyers may also be kept busy.