Smart Cars: Its future & Potential Risk

Smart Cars: Its future & Potential Risk


Since the introduction of in-vehicle navigation, researcher and innovators have been embarking on ways to partially and or fully create an autonomous vehicle using existing pervasive computing frameworks. As did smartphones, smart cars should see the same phenomenal growth in manufacturing and ownership of same. For the past decade, automotive manufacturers have been scrambling to innovate and attack consumers. Sun et al. (2009) argue that “a smart car aims at assisting its’ driver with easier driving, less workload and fewer chances of getting injured” and I strongly agree. As with any emerging technology, there are risks — this paper seeks to identify the potential benefits and risk of such a trend.


Cars are important aspects of our everyday life, it is one of the main mechanism by which we commute. Cars today are used in a number of ways, namely —safely transport individuals, goods, and services. However, there are limitations and drawbacks. In a report from the World Health Organization(2009), “Worldwide more than a million deaths are caused by road accidents per year”.  They also predicted that fatalities will become the fifth(5th) leading cause of death by the year 2030. What that said, a smart car’s main purpose will be to reduce or eliminate said existing problems.

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Kilgore(2015) reported that the Alphabet’s Google unit and Ford Motor Co has begun a joint venture in a new fleet of Self-driving and driver-less cars. At the announcement, Ford Motor Co’s ran up 3% in active morning trade. Honda has also unveiled their line of driverless cars, “A $20,000 Self-Driving Vehicle Hits the Road”(Hawkins, 2016). Beamer and BMW are not far behind in revealing their drivable model as well.

“The Obama administration is proposing to spend nearly $4 billion in a decade to accelerate the acceptance of driverless cars on U.S. roads and curb traffic fatalities and travel delays.”(Spector, 2016).


Has the word smart suggests, intelligent, and with the growth of Big Data, GIS, and GPS. A is now able to make of multiple sources of Data in the cloud and make calculated and real-time decisions or driver assist. With the share number of road fatalities —it has become a cause for concern. Smart cars will be able to Vehicle information, the driver is always in the know as to what’s going on with the car. The Electronic Control Unit (ECU) is the onboard diagnostic system that will provide same in real-time.

Driver Behavior patterns and the information is one of the keep features and benefit of a smart car. Being able to detect when a driver is intoxicated is by far a benefit. Sun et al. (2009) spoke about this is his general architecture “Driver represents the highest safety risk. Almost 95% of accidents are due to human factors…”. By monitor and providing assistance where possible this drastic percentage could see a significant reduction.

Traffic Monitoring, we have all been there where we wished we had taken another route after being stuck in traffic. Having a smart car that uses environmental variables to factoring in this and offering more suitable solutions would make a vast difference when it comes on to the traffic system.


Smart cars not only needs onboard systems and cloud connectivity to keep the driver safe, it also relies on the roading infrastructure. Currently, software and algorithms can make use of the existing infrastructure but for a safer and more accurate driverless experience, these have to be upgraded or redesigned. This was evident in a report done by Wang(2006) “Eventually, road infrastructure will also significantly change to provide better sensing solution(among other benefits), but this will take some time.”

For a car to be deemed safe to self-operate it first has to be declared and passed by a governing body of the country, county or state. This could significantly reduce the adoption process of this trend in particular places, especially if the roading infrastructure does afford for it. According to Sun et al. (2009), current smart cars are not content-aware thus limits its’ ability to assist with the task of driving efficiently and safely.

Lastly, another concern can be one of security or breaches. Hackers could make this advancement in technology grind to a screeching halt. Fatalities could surpass figures related to human error.


Some of the giants in the car manufacturing industry have either starts developing or teamed up with techs companies on projects to manufacture the next phase of smart cars whether it be better and safer driver assistance, self-driving or driver-less cars. There is definitely a future with this technology, and the many the benefits that it enables. Fysarakis(2016) states that with Real-time Vehicle Management Framework “Sensors can monitor vehicle health, informing stakeholders about engine malfunctions or emergencies in real time.” He also went further to that this system will allow for the detection or preempting security vulnerabilities.


Sun, J. Wu, Z.-H. Pan, G. (2009) ‘Context-aware smart car: From model to prototype’,Journal of Zhejiang University: Science A., (1673565X 18621775), pp. 1049-1051.

World Health Organization (2009) Global status report on road safety: time for action. Geneva, World Health Organization. World Health Organisation [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: March 15, 2016).

Kilgore, T (2015) Ford surges after report it’s in talks to build Google’s driverless cars,Available at: (Accessed: March 16, 2016).

Hawkins, L (2016) A $20,000 Self-Driving Vehicle Hits the Road, Available at: (Accessed: March 16, 2016).

Wang,F., Zeng,D., Yang,L. (2006) ‘ Smart Cars on Smart Roads: An IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society Update’, IEEE Pervasive Computing, 5(4), pp. 68 – 69.

Fysarakis, K. , Hatzivasilis, G., Manifavas, C., Papaefstathiou, I. (2016) ‘RtVMF: A Secure Real-Time Vehicle Management Framework’, IEEE Pervasive Computing, 15(1), pp. 22 – 30.

Spector, M., Ramsey, M. (2016) U.S. Proposes Spending $4 Billion to Encourage Driverless Cars, Available at: (Accessed: March 16, 2016).

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