Posted on October 10, 2021 at 4:55 PM
The automotive sector has rapidly evolved, and new technologies are bringing in more efficiency and user-friendliness. The most popular innovation in this sector is electric vehicles that have become highly popular due to the debate that they are more environmentally friendly compared to fuel-powered vehicles.
However, one of the innovations that will make up the future of the automobile sector is technological-savvy vehicles that require zero or minimal human input. Despite some strides manufacturers have made in this sector, none is yet to perfect these designs. However, one thing is clear, autonomous vehicles and robotaxis will be unveiled soon, and the world’s shift towards the digital market has already created a market for these vehicles.
Autonomous Vehicles are now a Reality
Germany has announced that it will be launching a robotaxis soon, which is a major step towards vehicle advancements. The greatest advancement in this area is the announcement made by Hyundai stating that it has converted the loniq 5 into a taxi that does not require any drivers. The final version of this new vehicle is expected to hit the market in 2023.
However, the main challenge with any new technology is that it is always susceptible to threat actors, who actively assess any vulnerabilities that can be exploited. The fear in developing these technology-savvy vehicles is that once they are introduced to the market, they will be prone to cyberattacks. This is the same case with flying cars if they will ever arrive.
The best thing about technology is that as soon as a problem is discovered, others are always looking for ways that these problems can be alleviated if they are ever discovered. To this end, some researchers have already figured out how cyberattacks on these vehicles can be prevented using the blockchain technologies behind Bitcoin and Ripple.
Blockchain Technology to Prevent Hacks
A recent publication on IEEE Transactions on Robotics that involved the research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Polytechnic University of Madrid demonstrated that blockchain technology is the solution to the menace of cyberattacks on technological advancements.
The research stated that robotic systems could be highly susceptible to hacking attacks because if one piece of the system is hacked, it could harm the entire system. This incident could spell doom for the entire infrastructure, whose weaknesses will be even more pronounced, and it could create an entry position for ransomware attacks or terrorism.
The research paper states that a transaction-based communication system could help prevent these attacks from taking place. This would be made possible by the high level of encryption that comes from using these transaction systems. The theory behind this research paper further states that robots added to a single system would automatically detect when one of the other robots within that system has been hacked.
These robots will achieve this functionality by detecting inconsistencies between the original content in a block and the later versions of that content, which indicates that the recent update has been hacked. The researchers noted that this strategy had a high chance of working because blocks in the chain comprise basic information of that robotic system and the coded version of the previous block details known as the ‘hash.’
If a malicious actor alters the content in a block, the hash will change, which will change the block’s connection with the rest of the chain. This action will ensure the unaffected blocks are notified, and they will detach from the affected blocks.
Moreover, the system can also keep a record of all the transactions, which makes it possible for developers to add more functionality to the robots. By recording the transactions, the developers can identify any weaknesses that are coming up in these systems and evolve them to meet any future challenges. Furthermore, keeping a record of all the transactions will ensure that these systems are protected from any future attacks.
Robotic vehicles that require no human action are a concept many people are waiting for, but research has shown that it presents many challenges. Every new technology comes with new weaknesses, and these are easily exploited by threat actors. However, cybersecurity researchers are always looking for ways that they can solve challenges before they arrive.
Blockchain technology could work on these vehicles and ensure that threat actors do not corrupt them. However, this is still a potential solution, given that new technologies could also sprout in the coming years. With the Hyundai robotaxis, driverless vehicle expected to launch in 2023, a new, more advanced technology could be in play to minimize the risk of such attacks happening.