Although experts are predicting that drivers will not become a thing of the past until 2030, Venson Automotive believes that fears over cyber security must be tackled as a priority to increase the confidence of fleet managers and motorists in an autonomous future.

Operations Director of Venson Automotive Solutions, Gil Kelly, explained: “For driverless cars to become a familiar sight on a business’s fleet, huge changes are required to the legislative and regulatory landscape. Experts have highlighted that there is a very real threat associated with the deliberate misuse of a car’s data systems.

“Autonomous systems will rely heavily on internet connectivity, making them intrinsically vulnerable to cyber manipulation, which means hackers may be able to override a car’s system to re-route it toward a particular destination or overwhelm it with high volumes of internet traffic.”

A recent study by the BVRLA has suggested that as business buys significantly more than half of all new cars, vans and trucks sold in the UK each year, “the fleet market is going to be a crucial driver of autonomous and connected vehicle technology”.

With this in mind, Venson is urging the fleet industry to support the Association of British Insurers (ABI) which recently called for industries to come together, saying: “The task for everyone with an interest in promoting the benefits of driverless cars is to find and close the vulnerabilities now before the technology is integrated extensively into mass market vehicles.”

The BVRLA went on to outline that by harnessing ‘big data’, the chances for safer, more cost effective and sustainable transport will be almost limitless, stating: “The fleet industry – fleet managers, leasing companies and rental operators – will be largely responsible for ensuring that this new connectivity and web-based telematics reaches its full potential.”

Kelly of Venson added: “Although it may seem like a vision of the future, autonomous cars are already with us, with self-parking and lane control technology already transferring control away from drivers.”