60 percent of vehicles to be Internet-enabled by 2025

60 percent of vehicles to be Internet-enabled by 2025

Summary: Internet connectivity in cars will promote better vehicle safety and driving convenience. However the rise of autonomous vehicles also makes vehicles more vulnerable to software hacking, according to IEEE.

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60 percent of road vehicles will be Internet-enabled by 2025, making driving safer and more convenient, and giving rise to autonomous vehicles, says IEEE.

By 2025, it is estimated that 60 percent of cars on the road will be connected to the Internet, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

According to a statement by the organization on Friday, the Internet connectivity will promote better vehicle safety features and autonomous vehicles but will also make them more vulnerable to software hacking.

There are already car manufacturers implementing connected car technologies with cars being equipped with bluetooth and the ability to interact with mobile devices, Jeffrey Miller, IEE member and associate professor in the University of Alaska's computer systems engineering department, noted in a statement.

"The widespread adoption of connected cars will allow consumers to treat their vehicles as just another one of their devices. Hosting mobile operating systems and purchasing data packages from wireless providers will be commonplace in the future," Miller said.

Improved vehicle safety and convenience, rise of autonomous vehicles

Internet-connected vehicles will give drivers better safety and convenience, since the technology supports communication between people and vehicle-to-vehicle communication.

Through vehicle-to-vehicle communication, cars can travel in closer proximity at higher speeds, and automatically reroute to avoid hazardous weather conditions or congested highways, Christoph Stiller, IEEE member and professor at Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, pointed out in the statement.

"Because of these features, human error will nearly be removed from driving, therefore making it a safer and more enjoyable experience," Stiller said.

The dependence on connected devices and Internet-enable vehicles also mean consumers will start increasing their trust on automated systems. This will lead to increased adoption of autonomous vehicles.

In the next five years for example, there will be lanes dedicated for the specific use of autonomous vehicles, Alberto Broggi, IEEE senior member and professor of computer engineering at Italy's University of Parma, noted. Driving will be more of a "novelty", where "people will actually pay to drive cars manually similar to go-carts."

Vehicles will also be more vulnerable to hacking

That said, with vehicles being more connected, they will also be more vulnerable to software hacks.

According to Kevin Curran, IEEE senior member and professor of computing and engineering at University of Ulster, hackers can potentially affect audio features, disable the vehicle's ignition, override braking systems and infect software with Trojans and viruses.

To cope with this, manufacturers must start setting firewalls to restrict access from integrated systems, he pointed out. "There is a strong presence of interconnectivity between vehicle networks, so a breach in one network may cause havoc in another," Curran said.

Topics: Networking, Security, Wi-Fi

Ellyne Phneah

About Ellyne Phneah

Elly grew up on the adrenaline of crime fiction and it spurred her interest in cybercrime, privacy and the terror on the dark side of IT. At ZDNet Asia, she has made it her mission to warn readers of upcoming security threats, while also covering other tech issues.

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  • thoughts

    "Through vehicle-to-vehicle communication, cars can travel in closer proximity at higher speeds . . ."

    Actually, closer proximity leads to lower speeds at higher congestion levels.

    And we'd have to make absolutely sure the system is NOT following so close that it can't respond to an emergency situation - unless you really want more car pileups on the highways.

    Truth be told - humans tend to drive too close to each other, not too far.

    "The dependence on connected devices and Internet-enable vehicles also mean consumers will start increasing their trust on automated systems."

    False. Dependence has nothing to do with trust.

    "That said, with vehicles being more connected, they will also be more vulnerable to software hacks."

    Yeah - and that's gonna be a problem. With computer-controlled antilock brakes in most cars, and various other electronic controls in many cars, there are *already* demonstrable ways to kill the driver on some makes and models. I'd say that easily within my lifetime we are going to see at least one incident of a driver being killed by a hacked car.

    "To cope with this, manufacturers must start setting firewalls to restrict access from integrated systems, he pointed out. "

    Better yet: There should be ZERO connections between the car's computer and the entertainment computer. There *ARE NO* firewalls on the planet safe enough to save a driver from a really dedicated hacker.
    CobraA1