The Government has told manufacturers it must do more to protect their connected cars from hackers.
It comes amid widespread fears hackers could target drivers’ personal data, steal cars that use keyless entry - or take control of a car.
New government guidelines issued by the Department for Transport (DfT) seeks to ensure engineers developing smart vehicles will have to toughen up cyber protections and help design out hacking.
The DfT said the legislation will put Britain at the centre of the new technological developments in smart and autonomous vehicles – but while ensuring safety and consumer protection remains at the heart of the emerging industry.
AM sister title Fleet News reports today that transport minister Lord Callanan (pictured) said: “Our cars are becoming smarter and self-driving technology will revolutionise the way in which we travel.
“Risks of people hacking into the technology might be low, but we must make sure the public is protected.
“Whether we’re turning vehicles into Wi-Fi connected hotspots or equipping them with millions of lines of code to become fully automated, it is important that they are protected against cyber-attacks.
“That’s why it’s essential all parties involved in the manufacturing and supply chain are provided with a consistent set of guidelines that support this global industry.
“Our key principles give advice on what organisations should do, from the board level down, as well as technical design and development considerations.”
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said: “These vehicles will transform our roads and society, dramatically reducing accidents and saving thousands of lives.
“A consistent set of guidelines is an important step towards ensuring the UK can be among the first – and safest – of international markets to grasp the benefits of this exciting new technology.”
The Government is also looking at a broader programme of work announced in this year’s Queen’s speech under the Autonomous and Electric Vehicles Bill that aims to create a new framework for self-driving vehicle insurance.