LONDON, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- A new generation of internet-connected cars will have to be better protected from hackers, under tough new government rules issued Sunday by Britain's Department for Transport (DfT).
Smart vehicles are increasingly becoming the norm on British roads, enabling drivers to access maps, travel information and new digital radio services from the driving seat.
But the DfT fears would-be hackers could target vehicles to access personal data, steal cars that use keyless entry, or even take control of technology for malicious reasons.
New government guidance issued by the DfT will ensure engineers developing smart vehicles will have to toughen up cyber protections and help design out hacking.
The government is looking at a broader program of work under a landmark Autonomous and Electric Vehicles Bill that aims to create a new framework for self-driving vehicle insurance.
The DfT says the legislation will put Britain at the center of new technological developments in smart and autonomous vehicles in what is still an emerging industry.
Manufacturers will have to design out cyber security threats as part of their development work.
"This will cement Britain as a world-leading location for research and development for the next generation of vehicles. And it forms part of the government's drive to ensure the country harnesses the economic and job-creating potential of new tech industries," said a spokesman for the DfT
Transport Minister Lord Callanan said: "Our cars are becoming smarter and self-driving technology will revolutionise the way in which we travel. Risks of people hacking into the technology might be low, but we must make sure the public is protected. Whether we're turning vehicles into wifi connected hotspots or equipping them with millions of lines of code to become fully automated, it is important that they are protected against cyber-attacks."
Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said: "We're pleased that government is taking action now it is championing cyber security at an international level. These vehicles will transform our roads and society, dramatically reducing accidents and saving thousands of lives. A consistent set of guidelines is an important step towards ensuring Britain can be among the first -- and safest -- of international markets to grasp the benefits of this exciting new technology."