Responsibility is one of the most widely contested facets involved in the production and integration of autonomous vehicles. Since they have existed, autonomous cars have been surrounded by debate regarding who should take responsibility in the case of a collision or other incident involving one. While the days of streets filled with self-driving cars are yet far off, governments are starting to see the earliest manifestations of legislation in the field.
Recently, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism published the conclusions deemed from their meeting in late April, where they deliberated on the matter of liability in traffic accidents concerning autonomous vehicles. The discussion was focused on fully automatic cars, with the key point of discussion stemming from the cause of an incident – whether it was due to a glitch or to human error. Their consensus can be summarized as follows.
“It was proposed that, when the cause of the accident is due to a glitch in the system, the costs should be borne not only by insurance companies but by the manufacturers.”
The article published in Keizaikai Magazine goes into further detail, expressly mentioning the case of a car hack, saying that “Should a vehicle that is hijacked through some external cause, such as hacking, become involved in an accident, the case would be treated in the same manner as one involving a stolen car.”
The message being conveyed here is clear. In the event that a structural flaw in the autonomation systems of a vehicle is responsible for a traffic incident, the driver is not to be held responsible. This act of solidifying the policies to be taken regarding autonomous vehicles is a necessary step in integrating them into society, and serves as a great wake-up call to automotive insurers and manufacturers alike. The threat of car hacks grows more prominent by the day, and if cars aren’t equipped with reliable cybersecurity measures, the lives of their drivers will be at risk. If manufacturers want to protect their customers and themselves from this threat, a clear hands on cyber strategy is needed.
The importance of Trillium’s multilayered approach cannot be emphasized enough – any system that employs only one defensive measure puts itself at risk of a devastating breach. Quite simply, single layered defense open up for single point of failure. The cars of tomorrow need not only IDPS (Intrusion Detection and Protection Systems) blocking attacks from entering the vehicle, but also sturdy protection of the IVN (In-Vehicle Network) that roams behind gateway units, else they risk losing everything upon the inevitable breach of a single layer defense.