Fiat Chrysler will recall 1.4 million vehicles in the United States to install software to prevent hackers from gaining remote control of the engine, steering and other systems in what federal officials said was the first such action of its kind. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)
NHTSA fears spread of cybersecurity woes

The recent cybersecurity issues that led Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to recall 1.4 million vehicles could pose a problem for cars and trucks from other automakers, the top U.S. auto safety regulator said Friday.

Mark R. Rosekind, who heads the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said his watchdog agency is trying to determine how many automakers received wireless components from the same company that supplied Fiat Chrysler.

“The supplier didn’t just supply radios to Chrysler but to a lot of other manufacturers,” Rosekind said. “A lot of our work now is trying to find out how broad the vulnerability could be.”

Fiat Chrysler last week announced the recall of 1.4 million U.S. vehicles to install software to prevent hackers from gaining remote control of the engine, steering and other systems.

The announcement followed reports that cybersecurity researchers had used a wireless connection to turn off a Jeep Cherokee’s engine as it drove, increasing concerns about the safety of Internet-enabled vehicles.

— Reuters

Facebook will test sun-powered drones

Facebook says it will begin test flights later this year for a solar-powered drone with a wingspan as big as a Boeing 737.

Engineers at the giant social network say they have built a drone with a 140-foot wingspan that weighs less than 1,000 pounds. Designed to fly at high altitudes for up to three months, it will use lasers to send Internet signals to stations on the ground.

The project is part of a broader Facebook effort that also contemplates using satellites and other high-tech gear to deliver Internet service to hundreds of millions of people living in regions too remote for conventional broadband networks.

Facebook’s drone was developed in part with engineering expertise that joined the company when it acquired a British aerospace start-up, Ascenta, last year. Jay Parikh, engineering vice president at Facebook, said the team created a design that uses rigid but lightweight layers of carbon fiber, capable of flying in the frosty cold temperatures found at high altitudes, for an extended period of time.

— Associated Press

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— From wire reports