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University of Michigan survey finds Americans fearful of self-driving car hacks

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Researchers at the University of Michigan found Americans have concerns about self-driving cars being hacked to potentially cause crashes, disable the vehicles or allow the vehicles to be used as weapons by terrorists.

According to researchers, more than 500 people were surveyed online about how concerned they are about hackers gaining access to both personally owned self-driving and conventional vehicles.

The survey found that 76 to 88 percent of people are “slightly concerned” that self-driving vehicles could be hacked, causing crashes or disabling the vehicle’s main traffic-management system. More than 40 percent of people surveyed are “very or extremely concerned."

Women and older people are more concerned about cyber security in vehicles, the researchers found.

According to Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the U-M Transportation Research Institute, more than half the people surveyed have the same cyber security concerns about conventional cars.

"Hacking of vehicles is even a concern for conventional vehicles," Sivak said. "But hacking of self-driving vehicles with controls is of greater concern, and hacking of self-driving vehicles without controls is an even greater concern."

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