Cybercars Need Cyber Rules, Says NHTSA

As cars become more interconnected and addressable from the Internet, there needs to be more security, says one government official.

Last week David Strickland, the chief Administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation that cars have “different safety and cyber security risks," and these need more study. He's requesting $2 million toward developing standards for protecting vehicle reliably and safety.

The NHTSA is proposing five levels "from vehicles that do not have any of their control systems automated (level 0) through fully automated vehicles (level 4)."

The agency also cited increased driver distraction with new electronics in the vehicle, "whether new safety systems, with a variety of audio, visual, or haptic warnings, are appropriately designed and sufficiently effective."

Strickland said his agency is currently focusing on Level 2 and Level 3 systems, cars with limited automated features. These will require extensive usability studies to show how best for cars to interact with humans and each other.