Carlin made the remarks during a speech before the Society of Automotive Engineers’ 2016 World Congress at the Cobo Convention Center. More than 11,000 engineers, auto industry executives, consultants, academics, government and military officials are expected to attend the event, which began Tuesday and runs through Thursday.
“What brings me here is this is an industry that’s on the cusp of not just an evolution but a revolution in how are cars operate, how they talk to each other,” he said.
Carlin said experts estimate more than 220 million vehicles will be able to connect to the internet by the year 2020.
The technology has the potential to save lives, but warned terrorists will exploit its weaknesses and use it to do harm, he added.
“Within each of those cars will be hundreds of different systems, each essentially computers in the car, and connected wirelessly,” he said. “What we can see based on the threats we’ve seen in other industries and other areas is those who oppose our values — be they rogue nation states or terrorist groups — are looking to exploit this change in technology.”