Vehicle hacking gained a high profile last summer, when hackers disabled a Jeep Cherokee SUV on a St. Louis highway.
LANSING, Mich. -- Hacking into an electronic vehicle system would have serious consequences under bills introduced today in the Michigan Senate: life in prison for the offender.
Sens. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, and Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, sponsored the first of what are expected to be several bills that would regulate Michigan's emerging connected and autonomous vehicle industry.
The bills would make it a felony to "intentionally access or cause access to be made to an electronic system of a motor vehicle to willfully destroy, damage, impair, alter or gain unauthorized control of the motor vehicle."
Anyone convicted of doing so would face up to life in prison.
"I hope that we never have to use it," Kowall said. "That's why the penalties are what they are. The potential for severe injury and death are pretty high."
The issue gained a high profile last summer, when hackers disabled a Jeep Cherokee SUV on a St. Louis highway. The hack was an intentional test on behalf of Wired magazine, but it exposed flaws in the wireless vehicle systems that automakers hope eventually will allow vehicles to communicate with each other.
And in February, Nissan discovered its NissanConnect EV app used in the Leaf electric car could be remotely controlled.
"Some of these people are pretty clever," Kowall said. "As opposed to waiting for something bad to happen, we're going to be proactive on this and try to keep up with technology."
Senate Bills 927 and 928 have been referred to the Senate's judiciary committee.