Ever since the 80s, computers have become more and more a part of motorists' lives. Piece by piece, intricate mechanical devices have been replaced by more reliable, more accurate computer-controlled ones. It's one of the reasons that cars these days are faster, safer, and more fuel efficient than ever before.
However, I think we're at a time in the auto industry which is in danger of echoing the wild west days of internet in the 90s. Why's that? Cars are starting to connect to the internet.
Those early days of the internet were really quite ugly, from annoyances like constant pop-ups and prank sites through to more serious issues of malware and poorly designed security. In the haste to get connected, those early adopters were not careful enough.
But a car is a tonne-and-a-half of steel capable of a lot of damage in the wrong hands. It's not an idle threat either - last year, 1.4 million cars were recalled after security researchers managed to take control of a Jeep Cherokee remotely. Yikes, that's a big car!
But look, Tesla are making waves with their self-driving cars, and it looks like other car makers are following suit. It looks like self-driving cars are going to happen, no matter what. It can be the start of something amazing, but all it would take is one slip-up. Car makers, if you're listening ... please be careful.
Automakers should make shielding the electronic and computer systems of vehicles from hackers a priority, developing layers of protection that can secure a vehicle throughout its life, U.S. regulators said on Monday.