We are just beginning to accept “smart cars,” and now we could be living in “smart cities.” As reported in Reuters, the U.S. Transportation Department is beginning a project to use wireless communication technology that would allow vehicles to exchange data to other vehicles.
The main goal for this “smart city” project is to reduce congestion traffic and speed. The data exchanges would be able to travel more than a mile away and will signal drivers when there are hazardous conditions out on the road ahead.
Implementing the project, however, is likely going to cost around $40 million.
Researchers on the project estimate that vehicle-to-vehicle data shares can prevent up to 80% of crashes not involving alcohol or other already hazardous driving conditions. Therefore, the benefits of these “smart cities” would greatly outweigh the cost with regard to improvements in driving safety.
The technology necessary for such efforts has rapidly improved in recent years. Just three years ago, only 16 out of 34 automakers implemented automatic oil life monitors in their vehicles to predict when an oil change is needed. Now vehicles are close to talking to each other, all with just a few more simple upgrades.
However, with the advancement of new technology always comes new issues. Cybersecurity experts will need to be trained on this new technology to help preserve information systems and the software involved, so vehicle owners can prevent issues like malware from taking over their cars.
These cars are basically just going to be large computers that you can drive, so there are plenty of cyber risks present. In an interview on TechTarget.com, Daniel Allen, a U.S. Army veteran and Center for Climate Change and Security researcher, stated that vehicles with this technology will be just as susceptible to cyber attacks as computers or laptops.
The federal government is one step ahead, however, and in July introduced legislation to prevent such cybercrimes. The Security and Privacy in Your Car Act (SPY Act) is the first of its kind, Allen explained, and would help the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Trade Commission establish security and privacy standards for vehicle-to-vehicle technology.