Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Partner Perspectives  Connecting marketers to our tech communities.
01:30 PM
Laurence Pitt
Laurence Pitt
Partner Perspectives
Connect Directly

Do Autonomous Cars Dream of Driverless Roads?

The connected car is coming... and with it a need for consistent innovation of network technologies - throughput, latency, coverage, and cost - to keep us safe.

It was Isaac Asimov who introduced 'The Three Laws of Robotics' for a short story in 1942 (although, fictionally they were published in the ‘Handbook of Robotics, 2058 AD’). The Laws were developed to show that robots would work in harmony with humans, and stated:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

These laws are powerful and have moved from science fiction toward science fact, as well as being referred to in many books and films. However, the laws are based on an assumption: Robots are either artificially intelligent, or sentient.

This is why Asimov's 'Three Laws' are not suitable for autonomous technologies, and in this case the 'driverless car' which has intelligence, but is not in itself intelligent. The laws for cars (or rules, as I’ll refer to them moving forward), need to be different – because a car can only make decisions based around configured, albeit dynamic and adaptive, rules, and so the onus falls to manufacturers for ensuring that autonomous cars are as safe on the road as they are exciting to drive.

The connected car is coming. In fact some may argue that it's already here since we have GPS and 3G/4G providing a flow of information, and next-generation voice-activated controls or updates. Recently I even saw that someone has worked out how to install an Amazon Dot into their cup holder! With the advent of 5G this level of integration will only become more prevalent, transforming the driving experience for everyone, whether you are a casual Sunday driver or a mile-munching long-haul trucker.

Much of the security focus so far has been on protecting the car, and its occupants, from would-be hackers or car-thieves who want to control the technology with malicious intent. For autonomous cars to gain global safety and acceptance means a new set of rules must be developed, rules that ensure accountability for development of smart and autonomous vehicles is placed with manufacturers and their supply chain.

The UK government is seeking to take a leadership role in the development of these rules by contributing an Autonomous and Electric Vehicle bill which will create a new insurance framework for self-driving cars. In tandem, the UK Department for Transport and Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure have released a series of documents outlining principles of cyber security for connected and automated vehicles.’These documents form a modern version of Asimov’s Robotic Laws, but with the focus being on the automotive manufacturers to ensure that these vehicles are developed with a defense-in-depth approach so that they remain resilient to threat at all times – even in situations where sensors are unable to respond due to attack or failure.

This legislation will put the United Kingdom at the centre of these new and exciting technological developments, while ensuring that safety and consumer protection remain at the heart of an emerging industry.

Consistent innovation of network technologies – throughput, latency, coverage, and cost – will be necessary to underpin the self-driving and autonomous cars of the future, but key to all this is that they are also protected against potential cyber attacks. Fair access to these technologies with open and transparent licensing is also important to ensure that all manufacturers can apply the same levels of safety and security; driving both innovation and competition for the future. To make this a reality Juniper Networks is working as a member of the Fair Standards Alliance, which also includes leading European and multinationals such as BMW, Daimler, Hyundai, MINI, VW and Tesla.

Personally, I am excited about the advent of the fully automated car and what it will bring. As a committed Gearhead (Petrolhead, UK) these developments will provide choice about when I want to drive, and when I would prefer to let the car take control. At the same time, it will make the roads a safer place since connected cars will react faster than humans ever can. Knowing that Juniper Networks is supporting these initiatives, and contributing to standards and legislation, is both important and exciting to me – we are making a difference, making science fiction into science reality! 

Laurence Pitt is the Strategic Director for Security with Juniper Networks' marketing organization in EMEA. He has over twenty years' experience of cyber security, having started out in systems design and moved through product management in areas from endpoint security to ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
FluBot Malware's Rapid Spread May Soon Hit US Phones
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/28/2021
7 Modern-Day Cybersecurity Realities
Steve Zurier, Contributing Writer,  4/30/2021
How to Secure Employees' Home Wi-Fi Networks
Bert Kashyap, CEO and Co-Founder at SecureW2,  4/28/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-06
An issue exists on NightOwl WDB-20-V2 WDB-20-V2_20190314 devices that allows an unauthenticated user to gain access to snapshots and video streams from the doorbell. The binary app offers a web server on port 80 that allows an unauthenticated user to take a snapshot from the doorbell camera via the ...
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-06
An out-of-bounds (OOB) memory write flaw was found in list_devices in drivers/md/dm-ioctl.c in the Multi-device driver module in the Linux kernel before 5.12. A bound check failure allows an attacker with special user (CAP_SYS_ADMIN) privilege to gain access to out-of-bounds memory leading to a syst...
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-06
A flaw was found in tripleo-ansible version as shipped in Red Hat Openstack 16.1. The Ansible log file is readable to all users during stack update and creation. The highest threat from this vulnerability is to data confidentiality.
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-06
ModSecurity 3.x before 3.0.4 mishandles key-value pair parsing, as demonstrated by a "string index out of range" error and worker-process crash for a "Cookie: =abc" header.
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-06
Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in puppyCMS v5.1 that can change the admin's password via /admin/settings.php.