Connected cars are the future for the automotive industry, with more than 90 percent of vehicles expected to have built-in connectivity by 2020. But, as more vehicles link up to the internet, lawmakers are worried about their security.
On Wednesday, lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to study cyber security in vehicles. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-SC, and Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., co-sponsored The Security and Privacy in Your Car Study Act, which hopes to create a standard for safety in connected cars.
The bill requires the NHTSA to work with the Defense Department, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center, SAE International, academics and manufacturers in the automotive industry.
Together, the group would study how to isolate software systems in vehicles, create a system to prevent and detect hacks, determine best practices for storing data and create a timeline for how to implement these standards.
“It’s something of a daunting challenge to balance disruptive technological innovation with federal safety and privacy protections,” Rep. Wilson and Rep. Lieu wrote in an April 2016 op-ed in The Hill. “As a result, all applicable government agencies need to be on the same page when assessing a cyber threat or measuring a cyberattack.”
Concerns about security in cars connected to the internet comes at a time when the automotive and tech industries are investing more into the platform. Tesla has long had a hold on the market, but in the last several years, it’s seen significant growth. Tech giants Apple and Google are pushing against automakers Ford, GM and Toyota to gain ground. Earlier this month, Microsoft announced it’s creating a set of services for automakers to use in connected cars, shifting away from creating it’s own such vehicle.
In her blog post announcing the new platform, Peggy Johnson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of business development, said that the infrastructure needed to build a connected car is “incredibly complicated. By partnering with automakers, Microsoft can handle the data, the automotive manufacturers focus on the safety of the vehicle.
Safety continues to be a main concern with connected cars. In 2015, Chrysler recalled 1.4 million vehicles after WIRED released a video showing hackers taking control of a Jeep and driving into a ditch.
Rep. Wilson and Rep. Lieu seek to address such concerns by creating industry-wide standard for connected cars. If enacted, the NHTSA study will be conducted over the course of one year and then be presented to Congress.
“The public and private sectors must work together to ensure that a car can never become a weapon,” the congressmen wrote in The Hill last year. “It remains critical that the federal government leverage the expertise and research that the private sector has already invested in this critical issue.”