Here are some technology ideas to help keep you awake. As our cars have gotten smarter they have also become hackable. This Car and Driver article talks about demonstrations done by the Center for Automotive Embedded Systems Security (CAESS)which showed an alarming (no pun intended) number of ways that your car might be vulnerable to cyber attacks. Some of the hacks are just ways to break into your car. Others can do things like take over systems, cut off your ignition, disable your brakes! Youch!
Of course, anyone with a background in technology is not going to be shocked by this. Any computer has vulnerabilities and exploits. So far some of the worst of them don't seem to have been exercised outside of the researchers, but a few of them have. Unfortunately the closed nature of these systems suggests that the only way we'll really find out about issues is with watchdogs like the CAESS or when something makes the news. How responsive will auto makers be to detected problems? What recourse will you have to apply your own and 3rd party protections?
We have placed a great deal of faith in the developers and engineers for all of these things. As our roadways increase kinds of automation we will need reliable smart systems. Hopefully these kinds of issues will be dealt with sooner rather than later. When it does will we find ourselves stranded because our car is doing a virus scan and the brakes have been quarantined? Hmmm. Time will tell, I suppose. At the moment it sort of makes me long for a classic car from the '60s.