Majority of Americans worry self-driving cars will be vulnerable to hacking

Most Americans are concerned that self-driving cars will be vulnerable to hacking, potentially leading to crashes or to vehicles being disabled, according to a survey carried out by researchers at the University of Michigan.

Respondents are also worried that self-driving cars could be used as weapons by terrorists, found the survey, or fear that hackers could gain access to their personal data.

Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, from the university’s Transportation Research Institute, found that more than three-quarters of respondents to the online survey are at least slightly concerned about self-driving vehicles being hacked, while a third are also worried about the risk of hacking for conventional vehicles.

While hacking is a worry for conventional vehicles, said Sivak, “hacking of self-driving vehicles ... is of greater concern”.