The latest perceived target for cyber criminals: the automobile. The DOT has a vision for a networked automotive future in which cars speak to each other and to roadway infrastructure via wireless communications. But opening up those channels of inter-car communication means also providing a way in–an avenue that hackers could exploit for ill. As such, the Department of Transportation is looking for ideas to help it develop an automotive cyber security roadmap that will, in due time, impart the technologies we need to safeguard our wired roadways.

This isn’t so much a call for proposals a la Darpa as much as a genuine call for ideas–that is, there’s no contract to be awarded as a result of this request for information. But the DOT still wants your input, should you have any to offer. Via the RFI:

The USDOT is collecting relevant information to characterize needs and establish a strategic research roadmap to meet the rising challenges of ensuring the safety of automotive safety-critical systems due to increasing complexity of motor vehicle systems using advanced electronic controls to improve drivability, safety, efficiency, and operational reliability; escalating use of information technology in motor vehicles to enhance basic and secondary vehicle functions and to enable infotainment applications; and wireless connectivity to in-vehicle systems, between vehicles and external information networks, and among vehicles.

Essentially, it sounds like the DOT is smart enough to know that America’s roadways will evolve, either within the scope of its own Connected Vehicles vision or beyond it. And it wants to be prepared. Call it an official acknowledgement that change is afoot on America’s highways and byways.

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