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Federal Car Fleet To Become Test Bed For High-Tech Safety Gear

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the don't-crash-on-me dept.

Transportation 24

coondoggie (973519) writes "Future autos leased by the federal government will be equipped with some advanced high-tech safety technology in an effort to test the equipment in real-life situations. The General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said they would team up on the program to further develop high-tech driver and vehicle safety technology."

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Hope they have good security... (3, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | about 5 months ago | (#47004539)

V2V sounds good, but I wonder about people who will hack it. For example, making a fake "traffic is gridlocked here" alert might make one's commute a lot better, or triggering a car to panic stop because it thinks another is doing the same can cause actual harm.

Security isn't something that can be strapped on anymore. It has to be "baked in", in multiple layers, and thoroughly tested as well as every other feature. I hope the makers of V2V technology has this in mind that is being deployed.

Re:Hope they have good security... (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 5 months ago | (#47004647)

Is "guinea pig" in Federal employment contracts, now?

Re:Hope they have good security... (2, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 months ago | (#47004829)

Is "guinea pig" in Federal employment contracts, now?

I sure hope so.

On a side note: now, when Congress refuses to declare war but stands by while the President sends troops overseas, it is the sons and daughters of Congress members who must go first.

Hey, I kind of like this idea.

Re:Hope they have good security... (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 5 months ago | (#47006623)

Yeah, why not have these cars chauffeur our Senators and Congressmen around...

Re:Hope they have good security... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#47008615)

On a side note: now, when Congress refuses to declare war but stands by while the President sends troops overseas, it is the sons and daughters of Congress members who must go first.

Uh, how about the President goes first? He can lead the battle from atop a noble battle-horse or something.

Re:Hope they have good security... (1)

dcw3 (649211) | about 5 months ago | (#47010037)

Probably not, only "pork barrel".

Re:Hope they have good security... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#47004889)

For example, making a fake "traffic is gridlocked here" alert might make one's commute a lot better

You mean I can do "Watch Dogs" but for reals?

Oh boy, this is gonna be great.

Re:Hope they have good security... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 5 months ago | (#47006431)

V2V sounds good, but I wonder about people who will hack it. For example, making a fake "traffic is gridlocked here" alert might make one's commute a lot better, or triggering a car to panic stop because it thinks another is doing the same can cause actual harm.

Security isn't something that can be strapped on anymore. It has to be "baked in", in multiple layers, and thoroughly tested as well as every other feature. I hope the makers of V2V technology has this in mind that is being deployed.

The problem is that security is pretty much worthless. First of all, if every car can transmit data, then every other card needs to be able to decipher it. So what security can you implement? Use encryption? Well then every car has to be able to encrypt and decrypt it, at which point it's useless because everyone has the key to encrypt and key to decrypt. At this point, you're doing no better than unencrypted messages.

If you sign every image, then every other car needs to be able to verify that signature, which means either every car needs to have a way to have those certificates acquired, or it doesn't verify the message, in which case well, it's pointless.

And if that's the case, well, even someone with a transmitter can intercept the messages as well.

Re:Hope they have good security... (1)

plover (150551) | about 5 months ago | (#47014275)

Security isn't "worthless", it's simply not 100% perfect.

You're absolutely right in that when you have millions of endpoints installed in untrustworthy clients, you'll have no way to conclusively prove that a specific vehicle wasn't transmitting bogus data. It's not just security, but faults and errors that need to be dealt with. Therefore the system needs redundancies: if a vehicle reports it's coming at you at 100MPH, that should be but one input in a system of data: radar reports from other vehicles could corroborate that kind of info. Did four vehicles just report seeing a car at 100 MPH? Does your own radar corroborate the existence and faithfulness of their prior reports?

You could require "signed" messages from transmitters, but they are only as honest as their inputs and sensors. Ultimately, you can't always solve these problems on the front end. What is required is a system that rapidly responds to reported problems, trusting other reports to a certain degree; but it still needs to keep audit logs on the back end, and there need to be penalties for driving with a system issuing faulty reports.

MSV HERE WE COME! (2)

beltsbear (2489652) | about 5 months ago | (#47004577)

Now I just need to get my Red Barchetta.

http://www.2112.net/xanadu/art... [2112.net]

Re:MSV HERE WE COME! (1)

RJFerret (1279530) | about 5 months ago | (#47005183)

I've heard the song many a time but never read the story behind it, thank you.

On another topic, they talk about adoption rates in the article, as the US vehicle fleet apparently takes about 20 years to turn over. I imagine there'll be significant insurance benefits in vehicle to vehicle systems that will encourage adoption in existing cars. Even more so if enabled cars are permitted a higher legal speed limit, or left/commuter lane only permissions.

I would really like a minimap showing me nearby vehicles à la video games. As it stands now, at night the headlights of another will reveal its existence around a bend, data sorely lacking in daytime. The liability however will be the same as currently, the most likely damage in my area (densely populated suburban) is deer.

Re:MSV HERE WE COME! (1)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | about 5 months ago | (#47008081)

Now I just need to get my Red Barchetta.

http://www.2112.net/xanadu/art... [2112.net]

What, so your brother's son can try and wreck it for you?

Re:MSV HERE WE COME! (1)

beltsbear (2489652) | about 5 months ago | (#47013245)

Exactly!

I've always wondered... (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 5 months ago | (#47004581)

... and I'm not suggesting this become normal or anything but.

If I could make a million drivers use 4-point harness safety belts, and drive wearing helmets and nomex coveralls, how would accident mortality be affected?

I'm not talking about frequency. A warm, cozy helmet cutting down on visibility and increasing drowsiness will probably increase frequency. But what about the injury severity and fatality rate?

I doubt we will ever know, but I've always wondered.

I also wonder if high-tech safety gear will cut into the GSA shrimp-eating party budget. Proably not, its practically free money.

Re: I've always wondered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47006909)

You could always try ask xkcd

Motivation (1)

Circlotron (764156) | about 5 months ago | (#47004673)

At least if some politician gets injured or killed because of the failure of some feature of the car (think Toyota sticking throttles, Ford Pinto gas tanks etc) then it won't get swept under the carpet like it might if it happened to some ordinary person.

Re:Motivation (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | about 5 months ago | (#47004925)

You are suggesting that those in power would let their ride get tampered with? That's funny. More likely the mail trucks and police cars will be the test beds for this.

autonomous autos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47004759)

Does this mean the ultimate safety technology, autonomy, will be tested? Removing the human element is the priority.

So will the first vehicle for test be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47005301)

....the Presidential State Car (Cadillac One)?

Thought not.

learn to drive asshole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47005437)

we should stop trying to make shit fool proof, instead we should be making sure fools aren't allowed to operate the equipment!

Re:learn to drive asshole (1)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | about 5 months ago | (#47008091)

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." -- Albert Einstein

Great idea (1)

kallen3 (171792) | about 5 months ago | (#47005535)

find out if safety gadgets will help them improve their maintenance standards

Leased Autos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47006247)

The part I don't understand is it states "autos leased by the federal government". I can understand trying it out on autos that are owned by the government, but if they are leased then wouldn't that be considered purposeful destruction of property? ( Since they are modifying the vehicles so they are no longer in a stock condition ).

I would think they would mean they'd be required to either pay for "damages"/modifications done to the vehicles by these tests or repair any these "damages"/modifications so the vehicle is back in a stock condition at the end of the lease. I would think it would be more cost effective done on government owned vehicles instead of leases. Someone correct me if I'm wrong or point out any flaws in my thought process.

Troubleshooters equipment (1)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | about 5 months ago | (#47008109)

Was anyone else reminded of Paranoia [wikipedia.org] when they read the synopsis?
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