Tesla risks drivers being over-reliant on autonomous car tech, report warns

This week in the world of the internet of things (IoT), we were given the lowdown on how to bolster our security when it comes to smart speakers. Siliconrepublic.com spoke to Sean McGrath, cybersecurity advocate at BestVPN.com, about the advent of these smart devices and why they are always listening.

Speaking of smart speakers, researchers have found a way for them to become even more aware of their surroundings using a modern-day version of eavesdropping technology deployed by the KGB, a Soviet spy agency, in the 1950s.

Safety test for autonomous vehicles reveals some problems

One of the world’s leading car safety authorities, Euro NCAP, has conducted an extensive survey of autonomous car technology on the market, revealing a major misunderstanding among the public as to its capabilities.

The organisation found that 70pc of drivers surveyed believe it is possible to buy a car today that can drive itself, but tests involving the ‘highway assist’ systems of 10 cars showed they are not designed as an alternative to safe human driving.

While a number of different brands were examined for the study, Euro NCAP warned that Tesla in particular “risks an over-reliance on the assistance system, with the vehicle being primarily in control”. In the small obstacle ‘pothole’ scenario, all the cars tested allowed the driver to cooperatively steer and manage the situation, apart from the Tesla, the organisation said. The Tesla system does not allow the driver to deviate from the lane centring path and will disengage when a driver inputs steering torque.

“Euro NCAP’s message from these tests is clear: cars, even those with advanced driver assistance systems, need a vigilant, attentive driver behind the wheel at all times,” said Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP’s secretary general.

Rolls-Royce partners with Intel for autonomous shipping

Rolls-Royce and Intel have announced the intention to collaborate on designs for advanced intelligent shipping systems that will make commercial shipping more autonomous and, hopefully, safer.

This means new ships will have systems with the same technology found in smart cities, autonomous cars and drones, particularly artificial intelligence. Using a variety of sensors and LiDAR, future ships will be able to avoid obstacles such as other ships, and send alerts to its human crew.

Intel’s part in all of this will be its hardware, including its 3D NAND solid-state drives, capable of storing up to 1TB of data generated each day.

“This collaboration can help us to support shipowners in the automation of their navigation and operations, reducing the opportunity for human error and allowing crews to focus on more valuable tasks,” said Kevin Daffey, Rolls-Royce’s director of engineering and technology, and ship intelligence.

Intel and Arm agree to work together to secure IoT

Despite being in intense competition with one another in the IoT chip space, Intel and Arm have agreed to set aside their differences and work together to use common standards, overcoming the technology’s biggest stumbling block.

According to Reuters, the common standards were developed by Intel to manage connections and data, and will now mean it is possible to roll out more IoT sensors quicker than compared with two differing standards.

“We see a significant acceleration in terms of how the market will grow in terms of the number of managed devices and the volume of data that moves through these systems,” said Himagiri Mukkamala, an Arm senior vice-president and general manager for its IoT cloud services division.

12pc of smart home device owners have unresolved problems

A new study of smart home device owners conducted by Parks Associates in the US has found that 12pc never have their technical problems solved, compared with 5pc in the previous three years.

“Strong value is achieved from the smart home when devices communicate with each other, but diversity in device technology and communication protocols adds complexity to the smart home and creates challenges in achieving seamless communication,” said Patrice Samuels, a senior analyst at Parks Associates.

However, the survey also found that only 14pc of device owners reported having one or more problems with them in 2018.

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