Automated Cars Are Here to Stay

Posted on Apr 4, 2016

One of the most significant developments in vehicle technology comes in the form of connected cars. Some drivers already benefit from assisted parking, automatic braking, sensors that activate the wipers when moisture is detected on the windscreen and other smart features, but rapid progress is being made in self-drive technology.

Connected cars have the potential to reduce the number of incidents and accidents on our congested roads. In maintaining a steady speed, allowing sufficient space between vehicles and following the rules of the road, they could improve road traffic conditions. Unlike humans, such technology isn’t distracted, doesn’t get tired and can perform effectively even after hours of non-stop driving.

A number of manufacturers are already in the processes of testing the ability of vehicles to navigate, drive and park without human involvement. There have however been concerns raised about the speed of development. Manufacturers are understandably keen to get ahead of the competition and be the first to launch a fully automated car. There is also considerable demand from consumers who want to experience the technology, but a report by Veracode and the International Data Corporation (IDC) highlights significant concerns about the safety of connected cars.

The report states that manufacturers must be mindful of the potential security threats. It suggests that rather than racing to get these vehicles on the market, car and component manufacturers, along with software engineers need to devote more time to rigorous testing of the technology, along with methods of cyber-crime prevention.

Responsibility for Safety

In addition to ensuring that the technology is secure, consideration needs to be given to how technological updates are achieved. Systems also need to be set up to test the systems and ensure the vehicles are safe on the roads. At present, the MOT test provides an annual vehicle check for safety and compliance, but it may be that additional factors need to be MOT tested on automated cars.

The servicing and repair of vehicles already relies on complex diagnostic tools. A significant change in technology requires an investment by garages and service centres to ensure that they can provide on-going maintenance and repairs.

Another interesting point raised in the Veracode IDC report is who has responsibility for vehicle safety? Can the vehicle manufacturer always be held responsible, or could a software engineer be held accountable for failure in safety? If a driver fails to update the technology when it becomes available, are they liable for the damage caused by cyber-attacks?

Early Adopters

Whilst there will be a waiting list of early adopters who are keen to get their hands on enhanced driving software, self-parking facilities, adaptive cruise control and collision avoidance technology, there still seems to be many years until the majority of drivers feel confident that the advances are fully tried and tested.

Until connected cars become a mainstream product, drivers will continue to rely on regular servicing and their annual MOT. Holmer Green Service Centre have invested in state of the art diagnostic equipment to provide the best service for customers, so if you are looking for a local, reliable and experienced team to carry out your MOT, Holmer Green Service Centre can assist.