IET: ‘Software MoTs’ needed for driverless cars

Cyber security experts have called on the government to introduce ‘software MoTs’ when driverless cars begin to enter the mass market in the UK.

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) made its call after the recent Queen’s Speech, in which the brand new Modern Transport Bill was outlined. This bill detailed the government’s plans to introduce driverless cars on UK roads over the next five years and ensure that they could be adequately insured under regular policies.

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While excitement over autonomous vehicles is growing, concerns have been raised not only to do with the security systems of autonomous vehicles, to prevent break-ins, but also the safety of the vehicles when they are in motion on UK roads — something that is almost entirely dependent on the software that runs their systems and interprets information from their sensors.

Hugh Boyes, a cyber security expert with the IET, told Fleet News: “We must ensure that cyber security is carefully considered. It is not just about the threat of a car being hacked, it also relates to the overall security and safety of the vehicle’s operation.

“For that reason it will be crucial the government introduces proper regulations for autonomous vehicles, which should include the need for a software MoT to be performed on a regular basis.

“This should help to assure the ongoing trustworthiness of the vehicle software and systems.”