Newsbite: New laws for driverless vehicles to look at hacking risks

News by SC Staff

The government is reviewing transport laws to take account of automated vehicles and may introduce specific new criminal offences to deal with interference, which would include vehicle hacking.

Today Roads Minister Jesse Norman announced the start of a three-year review by the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission to examine any legal obstacles to the widespread introduction of self-driving vehicles and highlight the need for regulatory reforms.

The government statement says that the work will be crucial in examining how current driving laws – designed with traditional motoring in mind – can support the next generation of vehicles.

The project is intended to review and answer key questions including whether there is a need for new criminal offences to deal with novel types of conduct and interference.  

This is where laws specifically relating to hacking of autonomous vehicles would come into effect, and could range from impacting the vehicle during operation (such as applying brakes, changing steering direction or programmed destination), to unauthorised 'update' downloads, or changing the information sent back from vehicles to central databases (which could affect insurance), ie, before, during and after operation.

It will also look at what the impact is on other road users and how they can be protected from risk; who is the ‘driver' or responsible person, as appropriate; how to allocate civil and criminal responsibility where there is some shared control in a human-machine interface; the role of automated vehicles within public transport networks and emerging platforms for on-demand passenger transport, car sharing and new business models providing mobility as a service,


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