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Security Issues and Other Potential Roadblocks for Self-Driving Cars

Self Driving Car 

Automotive analysts say self-driving cars could become widespread realities in a relatively short amount of time.

Self-driving cars are often suggested as a solution for people who aren't able to drive themselves or as a way of reducing accidents. However, there are several challenges and kinks that need to be worked out before these cars become mainstream.

Let's take a look.

Self-Driving Cars Are Enticing to Hackers

You may have seen theory-based articles where the writers put forth an argument that self-driving cars would be tempting targets for hackers, and if the hackers were successful in their quests, the results could be catastrophic. Although these pieces provide food for thought, they often weren't enough to make people truly concerned just yet.

However, a group of researchers from Virginia were tasked with seeing how easy it would truly be to break into the system of a driverless car, and what could be accomplished afterward.

The team concluded it was simple to hack components of the cars, such as those that control acceleration and braking. But, with their research, companies are developing real-time preventative solutions. Hopefully since they are already working so hard on the safeguards now, those efforts may make these innovative vehicles less tempting for conniving hackers later.

Ethical Concerns Have Been Raised

There are a number of ethical dilemmas related to self-driving cars. For example, Isaac Asimov introduced some laws related to robotics in 1942. The first two state that robots must not allow humans to be harmed, and they must follow the instructions programmed into them - unless those commands conflict with the law about harm.

Some people, then, wonder if that means robots would be able to override programming if they could somehow recognize doing so would save at least one life. It's also been proposed perhaps a driver could be at risk of mortal peril if the car had the option to do something that might save a life at the driver's expense.

Although it's too early to say with certainty how the self-driving cars would behave in such hypothetical situations, some individuals are still fearful. That's especially true considering some people are resistant to new modes of transportation, especially if they are not in control of them.

These Vehicles May Be Too Expensive for Average Incomes

Although it has been said that some of the parts within driverless cars aren't very expensive to produce, experts who have thought about the matter at length say it'll still be a long time until auto manufacturers will be able to figure out how to make the cars cheaply enough. Some individuals believe the sensors and electronics alone could cost $100,000.

That huge figure offers solid proof of why some people are hesitant to believe driverless cars will be heavily populating our roads anytime soon. Prices for parts tend to go down over time, but if the inner workings of these vehicles really will be so costly, it's clear automakers will have a tough time marketing the vehicles to the correct segment of the target audience in order to be profitable.

Although the cars might be within the realm of possibility as far as being produced, they'd be simply out of reach for most people who might like to buy them.

The cost concern likely also won't encourage those who may be reluctant to try unfamiliar things. Individuals who have been in self-driving cars generally gave good feedback and found the experience was not as scary as they might have imagined. However, if the price tag for these cars is too high, consumers might be discouraged from even going for test drives.

These are several concerns that have been proposed in relation to self-driving cars, but they surely won't be the only ones that arise. Hopefully, as time passes and there are continual improvements made in technology and engineering, some of these obstacles might be overcome.


Kayla Matthews is a tech-loving blogger who writes and edits Follow her on Twitter to read all of her latest posts! 
** Image by Roman Boed
Published Friday, February 19, 2016 6:31 AM by David Marshall
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