Hackers could potentially take control of internet-connected cars and cause accidents – as manufacturers are urged to better protect them from cyberattacks.
Smart vehicles allowing drivers to access maps, travel information and digital radio services are becoming more common in the UK.
And there are fears hackers could target them to get hold of personal data or steal cars with keyless entry.
The Government has urged motor manufacturers to ensure their vehicles are “completely cyber secure”.
Some cars are already able to park themselves and fully self-driving cars will be widely available “very quickly”, said Transport minister Lord Callanan.
He said the risk of hacking was low but insisted protecting vehicles against cyberattacks was “important”.
He said: “We need to make sure that the designs of the vehicles in the first place are completely cyber secure so that people can’t break into them, they can’t steal them and more importantly they can’t hack them to potentially cause accidents.”
The peer also offered tips to motorists to help protect their vehicles from hackers.
He said: “Treat them as you would your computer. Be careful who you give access to, don’t plug in devices such as USB sticks that you don’t know the origin of.
“Be careful what apps you download to it, make sure you have the latest software.”
Mike Hawes, chief executive of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, welcomed the guidance.
“These vehicles will transform our roads and society, dramatically reducing accidents and saving thousands of lives,” he said.
“A consistent set of guidelines is an important step towards ensuring the UK can be among the first – and safest – of the international markets to grasp the benefits of this exciting new technology.”