Cybersecurity is Critical to Unleash the Promise of Autonomous Vehicles

The potenial of autonomous vehicles could generate a fundamental shift in our society. Market predictions suggest that by 2025 the autonomous vehicles market could be worth $6 billion and a reported estimate of $80 billion has already been invested in the entire space during the last 3 years. The emerging technology represents a medium to create incredible efficiency and democratize mobility for all individuals.

However, there are many obstacles to this future. Regulatory questions, such as liability, and ownership, the need for mass-adoption of drivers, and our existing infrastructure present significant challenges to enter the market. In my view, cybersecurity is likely to be the most significant bump in the road.

The advancement of autonomous driving technology will be greatly challenged by cyber threats. For example, in 2015, a hacker demonstrated how easy it was to breach the automobile security when a Jeep Cherokee was hacked, causing Fiat Chrysler to send software patches to owners of 1.4 million cars and trucks. These types of cyber threats have become increasingly more difficult to thwart in the digital transformation.

Lawmakers at federal and state levels have engaged on this matter. States such as New York, California, and Pennsylvania have made significant progress in testing and trying to secure self-driving cars. Congress recently passed the SELF DRIVE Act, which mandates prevention of cybersecurity attacks on self-driving cars. These efforts highlight the promise and concern of the industry.

The regulatory concerns also raise a critical question to business executives in the mobility space. How much should be invested in cybersecurity? What standards do cars need to meet to pass muster? Which solutions are most effective - and how do we stay ahead of the threat?

Venture Smarter is working with governments, private sector, including startups, cybersecurity companies and all relevant stakeholders to solve these challenges. We have noticed that collaborative efforts in this space has been a productive means to solve these types of problems.

At the end, the flourishing of the autonomous vehicle industry will most likely depend on this cooperation between government, legal, technology, and security entities. Without proper alignment, it will be difficult for the market to reach full potential. Venture Smarter will be focused on these issues at our Smart Regions Conference in 2018.  Learn more here.


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