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Committee Leaders Seek Information on Auto Cybersecurity

May 28, 2015
Leaders Working to Ensure Potential Cyber Threats Do Not Undermine Vehicle Safety

WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today wrote to seventeen auto manufacturers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requesting information about the industry’s plans to address cybersecurity challenges as new technologies are developed and vehicles and transportation infrastructure are becoming increasingly connected.

The leaders (listed below) are asking the manufacturers and NHTSA to respond to a series of questions as part of the committee’s ongoing oversight to ensure the industry and regulators are prepared for the emerging challenges of the 21st century.

The leaders wrote, "We are entering a new era in cybersecurity. The explosion of new, connected devices and services is exacerbating existing cybersecurity challenges and has introduced another potential consequence – the threat of physical harm – as products responsible for public health and safety are integrated into the Internet ecosystem. This will be a significant challenge for the automobile industry. The integration and convergence of transportation and communications technologies in connected cars offers tremendous opportunity for innovation, improved performance, convenience (e.g. in-vehicle Wi-Fi, infotainment systems, smartphone interface and/or integration, etc.) and safety (e.g. Vehicle-To-Vehicle, Vehicle-To-Infrastructure, Autonomous Vehicles, etc.). All of these features, however, provide a gateway for potential threats. …"

They continued, "Connected cars and advancements in vehicle technology present a tremendous opportunity for economic innovation, consumer convenience, and public health and safety. These benefits, however, depend on consumer confidence in the safety and reliability of these technologies. While threats to vehicle technology currently appear isolated and disparate, as the technology becomes more prevalent, so too will the risks associated with it. Threats and vulnerabilities in vehicle systems may be inevitable, but we cannot allow this to undermine the potential benefits of these technologies. The industry and NHTSA have an opportunity to prepare for the challenges that advanced vehicle technologies present, and to develop strategies to mitigate the risks."

The letters were sent by:

  • House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ),
  • Full Committee Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX),
  • Full Committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN),
  • Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO),
  • Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), and subcommittee Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), and
  • Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), and Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

In addition to NHTSA, letters were sent to the following manufacturers: GM, Ford, FCA North America, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Kia, Subaru, Mercedes Benz, Volvo, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and Tesla. The committee leaders are requesting responses by June 11, 2015.

To view copies of the letters and a full list of questions, click HERE