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Mercedes' lead designer talks to euronews on the future behind the wheel

Lead designer at Mercedes Gordon Wagener talks of the "insane opportunities" for his profession in the cars of the future, but will all the new technology be a thieves' bonanza?

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Mercedes' lead designer talks to euronews on the future behind the wheel

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Mercedes-Benz showed off the Vision Maybach 6 luxury concept car in the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts as part of its Design Day event.

The electric car represents the future of luxury, speeds to 100 km/h in 4 seconds. With a new generation battery it can travel 500 kilometers with one loading, and loads 100 kilometers worth of energy in 5 minutes.

Mercedes lead designer, Gorden Wagener talked to euronews about the future of car design as defined by the new technologies: electric, autonomous and digitally connected.

“Of course once a car drives autonomously the meaning of the car even changes, it becomes a third place, it is not at home it is not at work, it is your rolling apartment in the street. You can spend time wisely on the streets with friends or digitally connected, so there’s insane opportunities there for us designers,” he said.

According to insurance company Allianz, there will be insane opportunities for criminals, too, as “smart” cars can be hacked. Data thieves can for instance hack cars and blackmail the owner that they take over control and brake at any given moment. Criminal cyber attacks on cars can be life threating. If a hacker finds a weak point he can sabotage all cars of the same model for instance by shutting down the motor. The car maker’s loss of reputation would be enormous.

The weakest point is the OBD2 interface which is mostly unsecured. If you add so called smart dongles you can transfer data through WLAN or a sim card. Usually carmakers like BMW protect dongles with a password, but that is not always the case. What’s more, Cars are more and more connected with the internet through new functions, (multimedia etc), which makes them more “attackable” as well.

This is why insurance company Allianz is appealing to carmakers to improve their data security. Car owners should be the ones to decide which data is given to garages, for instance.