Professor Andry Rakotonirainy is behind the call, and is part of the university’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q) team.
While cars are becoming safer and smarter in terms of occupant safety during a collision, Professor Rakotonirainy believes that the risk of car hacking has increased as cars have become “computers on wheels”.
"The security protection on cars is virtually non-existent - it is at a level of protection that a desktop computer system had in the 1980s [and] the basic security requirements such as authentication, confidentiality and integrity are not strong," Professor Rakotonirainy said.
"What this means is that as vehicles become more and more connected and autonomous, with the ability to communicate to other vehicles and infrastructure through wireless networks the threat of cyber-attack increases, putting people's safety and security at risk."
Cars of the future will brake autonomously upon receiving a wireless signal to do so from a car that could be much further down the road and even take evasive action if needed, but without adequate security these actions (and more) could be controlled by a hacker.
Professor Rakotonirainy called on governments, carmakers and road safety experts to turn their attention to what he described as a “global security threat”.
"We need to be analysing the types of risk that these intelligent vehicles are facing and work to provide a secure, reliable and trusted protection system," Professor Rakotonirainy said.
And it’s not just cars that may be vulnerable, with a US-based security researcher claiming earlier this year that traffic signals around the world - including some in Australia - can be easily hacked.
Professor Rakotonirainy will be covering the topic of car hacking in an address to the Occupational Safety in Transport Conference on the Gold Coast this weekend.