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60 percent of vehicles to be Internet-enabled by 2025

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.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor
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.

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