Autonomous cars: Siri, take me to Albacete

We know technology is here to stay for life. It cannot be otherwise: it is present in all areas of our daily lives. In principle, digital advances are seen as tools and resources to make our lives easier, although here we could enter into a broad debate about where utility ends and excessive comfort begins.

In any case, and leaving this question aside, one of the sectors that has incorporated the greatest number of changes related to technology is the automotive sector. In recent years, progress has been aimed at achieving increasingly autonomous driving, which means that the vehicle can perform more functions without our participation.

To define the degree of independence, different levels have been established. Level 0 is the traditional car; at level 1 there are driving aids, such as speed controls; in 2 we already find partial automation, so the car acts independently in some aspects; the autonomy increases at level 3 and, at level 4, no human intervention will be necessary, although in the event of a breakdown, the person can take over the driving. In the case of level 5, the automation is complete and they can solve any problem themselves. At the moment, most vehicles fall somewhere between the first and second, but it’s estimated that Tier 3 cars will be a reality next year.

It is estimated that next year cars capable of supporting a large part of human functions will become a reality

However, to cover this new type of driving, data will become fundamental elements. Not only those who refer to the state of the traffic, but also those of the drivers themselves, who will have to freely give personal information to the platforms of these vehicles so that they can perform certain functions, such as the car being directed to one place or another. So we face the same issues that arise with the spread of apps and from the web pages: It is becoming more and more difficult to limit the use of personal data. However, it will be essential to find a way to protect users from the use that companies could make of it.

And it is that this information will cover many aspects that range from data relating to the name, address or telephone, to the physical characteristics of the person, to their destination or the way in which they drive during each trip (home , work, leisure space ). If cars are to simulate human driving as closely as possible, they will need to be made with as much information as possible. However, for platforms and companies, they will not only consist of situation data, but they will have in their possession endless profiles and possibilities, which will open the door to the offer of products, services and points of interest during the trip. Also stand-alone advertising?

To simulate the human mind, intelligent vehicles will undoubtedly need a lot of data from us

While it is essential that the data networks used in the transmission offer guarantees of confidentiality, it is also essential that they prevent the theft of information or that they guarantee any intrusion that could have consequences on driving. The latter does not seem very easy to achieve. But it is also that extremely high quality sensors can also be counterproductive: Leaving everything in the hands of a machine, including sensitivity, isn’t always the most efficient.

Until now, it has been quite complex to find a reliable protection system that guarantees the safety of those who travel at all times. Additionally, as autonomous vehicles become more widespread, new threats and currently unknown issues will emerge. Until the time arrives, we will not be able to place them in a concrete context. And only then can we determine if thI dream of traveling without driving It has as many advantages as we thought, or if this desired comfort entails too many additional risks.

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