Wednesday 21 March 2018

We're connected but vulnerable; Mustang for year; Skoda's stars; costly Brexit repairs

Special edition Mustang
Special edition Mustang

The experts reckon there will be 250 million 'connected' cars on the road by 2020.

That sounds like great news for staying in touch while on the move.

But it is bad news too though because of the greatly increased likelihood of cyber attack.

As we get more and more digital elements (on-board Wi-Fi, vehicle-to-communication, over-the-air servicing etc) as well as additional self-driving systems, we increasingly become vulnerable to letting hackers into our systems. We know all that really, I suppose but it is the sheer volume of cars that could be exposed that is troubling.

It is frightening to see, online, for example how Chinese researchers, Keen Security Laboratory, remotely took control of two Teslas.

They were able to move seats, work the brakes - even open the rear hatch of the car. All remotely.

The 'door' for hackers is the car's electronic network. That is where as many as 100 electronic units which control ABS or steering wheel angle can be linked together.

So even if there is no one else in the car, you may not be alone.

Remember, not so long ago, how US researchers got to do all sorts with a Ford Fusion and Toyota Prius by gaining access to on-board diagnostics sockets? And how Fiat Chrysler had to recall 1.4 million vehicles to upgrade security on its infotainment system.

Be careful out there.

* Congratulations to Natalie Price, Clonakilty, Cork, who won the Ford 'Find A Ford, Find a Fortune' promotion.

She gets to drive a Mustang for a year - and €30,000 in cash.

* Five Irish Skoda employees have been selected to represent the country at the international finals of the marque's Challenge in Budapest in May.

They emerged from the Irish National finals earlier this month.

They will compete against representatives from 35 countries.

So good luck to Paul Bruton, Brian O'Mahony, Martin Healy (all from Cork), Darragh Smith, Cavan, and Paul Egan, Naas, Co Kildare.

The Challenge assesses the qualities of the best employees in the company's global network.

Ireland will be represented in five different categories: parts & accessory salesperson; service adviser; service technician; sales consultant and diagnostic technician.

* At least the UK government is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to backing 'fuels of the future'.

The country's hydrogen infrastructure got a £23m boost recently towards building more fuelling stations and encouraging the purchase of hydrogen-powered cars.

* Nice touch from Renault who recently handed over the key-card to a new Mégane Grand Coupé to Pieta House which as you know offers a free, therapeutic approach to people in suicidal distress and those who engage in self-harm.

* I see where Brexit is already hitting British motorists hard with new research from automotive data experts hpi claiming the cost of motoring has gone up by more than 10pc in the last year.

The weak pound is being roundly blamed.

The shape of things to come, I feel.

Irish Independent

Life Newsletter

Our digest of the week's juiciest lifestyle titbits.

Also in Life