As pictures, words and opinions about Google's self-driving car zipped around the information superhighway (at speeds in excess of what that little car will manage, I'd imagine), the following comment popped into my email inbox.
It's from Wil Rockall, who is director of KPMG’s cyber security team. He warns that the potential for ‘spam jams’ and hacker-driven congestion might affect consumers’ driving experiences in the future.
Rockall says: “There is no doubt that self-drive cars are going to become a reality. The technology is already available and, with test drives showing early signs of success, an unstoppable journey has started on what will become a well-travelled road.
“For all the positives, the industry will need to be very alert to the risk of cyber manipulation and attack. Self-drive cars will probably work through internet connectivity and, just as large volumes of electronic traffic can be routed to overwhelm websites, the opportunity for self-drive traffic being routed to create ‘spam jams’ or disruption is a very real prospect.
"Yet the industry takes safety and security incredibly seriously. Doubtless, overrides could be built in so that drivers could shut down many of the car’s capabilities if hacked. That way, humans will still be able to ensure their cars don’t route them on the road to nowhere.”
Bearing in mind that the lightest dusting of snow tends to send our transport network into deep freeze in the winter, what do you reckon? Can we look forward to the odd unexpected day off because someone's yanked the cable out of the wifi router and the entire driverless car network has fallen over?