The importance of cybersecurity in the autonomous vehicle setting is well known, but nuance and complexity will be on our LiDAR (a pulsed laser that measures ranges) where the rubber meets the road.

The Challenging, Shifting Landscape

Cybersecurity is one of the key issues of the digital age, typically in the context of security and privacy of confidential or personal data. Cybersecurity is particularly challenging and important for technologies such as self-driving cars, where the real world and the digital, connected world meet and where cyber breaches could result in danger to life and property.

Autonomous vehicles are still in their infancy. Significant uncertainty surrounds this rapidly evolving ecosystem. Standards and regulations are still in a state of flux, and the “rules of the game” are still unclear: how, and how long, will human drivers/operators continue to be involved (along with their proclivity for risky, unpredictable and gullible behavior)? At this relative stage of immaturity, market participants are developing their own divergent solutions that will eventually need to seamlessly integrate, increasing the potential for cyber vulnerabilities. However, the opportunity (for both innovators and society at large) is clear, as smart, interconnected vehicles and systems promise remarkable improvements in efficiency and safety. The race is on.

California was one of the first states to allow autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars) to be tested on public roads. On April 2, 2018, the state began allowing self-driving cars without a driver in the vehicle to be tested on public roads. Before these new regulations, California only allowed autonomous vehicles to be tested on public roads with an approved driver.