Expert Voices: AV diagnostic systems needed for road safety but easy to hack

Under current regulations, vehicles must allow connection to their diagnostic systems for analysis and repair. This access point is crucial for ensuring that both conventional and future self-driving cars are safe on the road, yet it is vulnerable to hacking by physical and wireless intrusions.

Why it matters: Autonomous vehicles are highly dependent on networked component controllers that enable different parts of the car to communicate. This means that a security breach could open up even more operational controls in an AV, including safety-critical functions. Despite these risks, there are still no rules in place to mitigate this significant security vulnerability.

Details: On-board diagnostic (OBD) technology connects automotive electronic control units (ECUs) — which manage throttle, steering, lights, brakes and more — to the Controller Area Network (CAN) data bus. It also allows service technicians to connect diagnostic equipment to assess the car’s pollution controls, sensors, safety-critical ECUs and other components…

Click here to read the full opinion piece by Jason Levine, Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety, in Axios