Technology is advancing at a rapid rate in all of our devices—including our vehicles. New cars are being manufactured with computer systems which can prevent crashes, assist with parallel parking, and boast information dashboards that rival most smart phones and tablets.
As our vehicles become more dependent on technology, many in the computer industry worry that our vehicles could become a target for hackers seeking to wreak havoc.
Your Car is Already a Computer
Auto manufacturers have been using computer monitoring systems in vehicles since the 1970s. These systems started out controlling things like the timing of the ignition spark and fuel injection in the carburetor. In the 80s and 90s, on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems were added, which used sensors throughout the vehicle to alert mechanics to problems with the vehicle.
In the past ten years or so, however, technology in vehicles has come light years ahead of where it was a few decades ago. Today’s systems not only utilize high-tech computers, but are also beginning to take advantage of the wireless and network connectivity that your smartphone or tablet uses.
Improved Vehicle Technology Increases Hacker Interest
Our vehicles’ increased connectivity has captured the attention of would-be hackers around the world. Previously, our vehicles’ computers operated in a closed off world—no one could hack into the systems without physically hooking up a computer to the OBD system.
Many auto safety experts worry that our vehicle’s new wireless and Bluetooth capabilities may allow hackers to breach a car’s computer system remotely, without needing a physical connection to the car. While no one has accomplished this yet, computer safety groups are pleading with auto manufacturers to increase the level of security guarding a vehicle’s computer systems, especially those responsible for functions like braking and steering.
Auto Manufacturers Must Create Safe Cars
All auto manufacturers have a responsibility to create safe vehicles. If a manufacturer creates a vehicle with a computer system that can be easily hacked, that manufacturer may be liable for any accidents caused by hackers breaching the vehicle’s computer systems.
Both the federal government and private researchers are working hard to develop technology to prevent unauthorized access to vehicle computers. While these efforts have been successful for now, it is not unthinkable to believe that these safety precautions may not be enough in the future.
If a vehicle’s wireless or Bluetooth connectivity leads to a breach by hackers, it is conceivable that a manufacture would be liable under general defective products law, though their responsibility may be somewhat mitigated by the obviously criminal action of hacking.
The products liability attorneys at The Eichholz Law Firm will be watching for more news about developments in this area. If you have been injured in an auto accident or by a defective product, our attorneys are standing by to help you get justice. Call(866) 947-7449 to speak with an experienced Georgia injury attorney today.