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Driverless Car Could Be Hacked By ’14-Year-Old From Indonesia,’ Senator Warns

Driverless cars have been touted as an innovative way of making roads safer by reducing human error. Computers don’t get behind the wheel while drunk, or tired, or texting, proponents argue.

But self-driving cars also pose new safety risks, because computers are vulnerable to something that human drivers are not — hackers.

Such concerns were aired this week during a Senate hearing on the future of driverless technology. Though still years away from mass production, autonomous vehicles could place passengers at risk of “catastrophic cyberattacks” unless proper measures are put in place, according to Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va).

“In other words, can some 14-year old in Indonesia figure out how to do this and just shut your car down … because everything is now wired up?” Rockefeller said Wednesday during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing.

The federal government is taking Rockefeller’s concerns seriously. At the same hearing, David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said his agency has requested $2 million for research to “share data about nefarious behavior” and ensure the “the overall system cannot be corrupted to send faulty data.”


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