Ali encourages collaboration to protect against AV terror in Detroit News

July 22, 2019

Each day tech and automotive companies are making advances in autonomous vehicle (AV) technology. With that innovation comes a new threat to our security, warns Javed Ali in a July 21 op-ed in The Detroit News titled “Collaboration key to preventing autonomous vehicle terror.”

Terrorists could “leverage modern technology for a variety of nefarious purposes,” writes Ali—in this case, combining hacking a car’s computer system with a vehicle ramming style attack that is becoming all too common. To mitigate such dangers, Ali suggest convening “security professionals, engineering and design experts, federal regulators, legislators, and academic specialists” to develop safeguards.

Ali notes that the National Highway Safety and Transportation Administration does have federal guidelines, but more needs to be done. He suggests that there are legislative opportunities that could strengthen AVs’ remote access protection, including reviving a bill by proposed in the last Congress by Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and John Thune (R-SD) or incorporating more AV language into the next authorization of the surface transportation bill.

Ali concludes “an ‘ounce of prevention’ now could be worth a ‘pound of cure’ in the future.”

Read the full commentary on The Detroit News.

Javed Ali is a Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Policymaker in Residence at the Ford School returning for the fall 2019 semester and a former Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the National Security Council (NSC). He has over twenty years of professional experience in national security and intelligence issues in Washington, D.C., and began his federal government career in 2002.