Cars: Driverless, Hybrid and Electric Risks

Updated 11/12/23

See also Hybrid and Electric Car Radiation Risks at .

Although electric cars that can be charged with cleaner solar energy are an important step towards a sustainable future  mitigating climate change, reducing fracking and air pollution, as well as having the advantage of generally lower maintenance costs, there remain safety, privacy, security and health concerns.  There is also an environmental cost to electric cars. Electric and magnetic fields in cars have been rising in modern automobiles, which we are spending more and more time in, thus vehicle transportation is an increasingly important issue, especially for children and pregnant women who are more vulnerable. Cancer promotion is another concern as both magnetic and radiofrequency emissions have been classified as “possibly carcinogenic” by the World Health Organization.  Static and ELF Electric and Magnetic Fields WHO (2001)  and IARC Radiofrequency Radiation (2011)

Newer cars have significantly more integrated  “smart” features which are wireless and increase exposure to radiofrequency non-ionizing radiation inside the car as the RF tends to bounce around and not be discharged readily due to the metal composition of cars which reflects but does not absorb the radiation.  Electric vehicles use high voltage batteries that can generate high magnetic fields. Magnetic fields have been known to have adverse health effects in the short term with MRI’s.   What are safe levels of this radiation or combinations of electromagnetic frequencies we are increasingly exposed to?  How do we measure the levels of EMF’s? Can these be shielded in a car?  What are the true long term risks?  Are the current safety levels really safe?  We do not know all the answers at this time but the science of EMF biological harm to the neurological system, the reproductive system and the immune system, as well concerns about symptoms of electrosensitivty, indicates that we need to carefully consider EMF exposures and health in the manufacturing and safety regulations of electric and hybrid cars. MRI machines used for imaging the body expose humans to a combination of EMF including electrical, RF and magnetic fields. There are known risks to exposure to MRI radiation. Redesigning wiring as well as considering battery distancing and shielding in cars for safety is another health factor that needs to be addressed.

EMF in New Cars, Rental Cars and Amtrack

Here is a slide presentation by Safe Tech International on why newer cars can trigger electrosensitivity and how to purchase a lower EMF vehicle. There is a glaring need to measure and rate automobiles EMF emissions from sources of wireless RF as well as magnetic fields.

EMF in New Cars, Rentals and Amtrak2 Slide Presentation

Less Toxic and Low EMF Vehicles

Another group has posted information for those who are chemically sensitive and/or electrosensitive on choosing a low EMF car.  Less Toxic and Low EMF Vehicles. Practical Information for Coping with Chemical and Electrical Hypersensitivity.he EI Wellspring.

Electric Vehicles Not Compatible with AM Radios: Senator Ed Markey Asks for Report 

Am radio has been a standard feature of cars since the1930’s. AM radio provides for free weather, traffic, sports and news to the public. Senator Markey from Massachusetts, notes that AM radio in cars need to be preserved for communication of local, state and federal agencies in an emergency. Senator Markey writes in a letter to 20 car manufactures, “Despite innovations such as the smartphone and social media, AM/FM broadcast radio remains the most dependable, cost-free, and accessible communication mechanism for public officials to communicate with the public during times of emergency. As a result, any phase-out of broadcast AM radio could pose a significant communication problem during emergencies,” A report was requested as noted below.

Electric vehicles create high levels of electromagnetic interference which also interfere with AM radio. According to a technical report by the Center for Automotive Research this is expected as “EVs are dependent on and powered by high-voltage electrical components that draw high currents.” The report explains, “The key electromotive components of EVs are one or more high-power electric motors, associated electronic systems (such as inverters), and high-voltage batteries. Within an EV, these components, by design, generate electromotive forces that turn the rotor in the electric motor and cause the axles to turn the wheels. Given the high-power nature of these forces, there is an inherent high-current transmission between the high-voltage battery, the inverter, and the motors. While electromotive forces are propulsion sources in EVs, they are also the basis of noise sources causing interference in the AM band.”  The report states that migation is possible. “Several mitigation techniques are available that help address this issue, including shielded cables, EMI filters, strategic component placement, active noise cancellation, and AM receiver improvements.”  They conclude that  EMI mitigation measures can pose a significant cost to the manufacturing process.  Would this mean that it is safer to drive an EV if it is sheilded?

AM Radios Detect Dirty Electricity and Dirty Electricity is Harmful

Building biologists all know that AM radios work well to identify high voltage transients, also known as “dirty electricity” from cell towers, LED lighting, smart meters, solar power inverters (without filters),  modern electronic equipment such as laptop charges, and the power line it self.   Dirty electricity results from distortions of electromagnetic energy when the power source switches power modes going from AC to DC current. This creates erratic spikes and surges of electricity.  The smooth sine wave of 50/60 Hz power through the electrical wiring of your entire house becomes turbulent as explained in this video.  Some people are sensitive to this type of electromagnetic energy at low levels.  Building biologist Eric Windheim demonstrates in this video how to use an AM radio  to detect dirty electricity.  Eric Windheim demonstrates detection of dirty electricity in a house next door to one with solar panels and an inverter in this video.  Solar panels with battery storage creates dirty electricity in motor home, along with symptoms in those in the vehicle, as demonstrated in this video by Eric Windheim. Dirty electricity voltage transients are demonstrated in home solar panels near a home in Chico, California in this short video which also demonstrates the value of filters. Freelance writer Allison Maine, who is also electrosensitive  explains dirty electricity in this article.  The biological effects and harm from dirty electricity are explained clearly in this article   There is another perspective on solar and wind power that highlights “The Dark Side”  in this article looking at mushrooming ewaste.

V2V and Cellular V2X : Vehicle to Vehicle Communications Technology is Here But With Lack of Security or Safety Regulation

V2V technology allows vehicle to wirelessly communicate with each other to warm of hazards. The first generation of this technology warns the driver but does not take control.  It measures  speed, location, direction of travel, braking and loss of stability. Standards are set by the FCC and ISO.  It is a WiFi -like mesh network using frequenciuies such as 5.9 GHz with a range of 300-1,000 feet. This type of equipment can gather data on traffic conditions, including accidents. A 2016 proposed ruling making to mandate V2V technology in all cars failed under the Trump administration. Citicts of the porposal include Ford, Volkswagen and Tesla who site a failure to address security concerns.

Cellular V2X technology uses car WiFi systems  in constant ON mode to connect cars to everything around them, including pedestrians, cars, utility infrastructure and cell towers. This  short Qualcomm video shows how cellular V2X will work.

RFR from “Smart Cars”: A Risk to Passengers and Pedestrians?

In a 2022 open access research article in Sensors, Road User Exposure from ITS-5.9 GHz Vehicular Connectivity, Benini et al are apparently the first to look at the SAR levels from V2V/V2X antennas from “Smart Cars”. There are one billion, four hundred million cars on the road today, with almost all modern cars using wireless “Smart” technology. Researchers were curious about the level of RF exposure to humans in and around the car. They found significant levels of radiofrequency radiation-Electromagnetic Frequency (RFR-EMF)  absorbed by passengers and pedestrians especially in the eye and brain from antennas with an overall whole body SAR of 0.19 mW/kg.  They state, “As for the local SAR, the highest value found in [17] was at the head, as in our study. In particular, in [17], the SAR in the head was 1.581 W/kg in the “asymmetric montage”. Higher exposures to the head depend on the distance from the antenna and this could be close to the head in modern cars they looked at. For pedestrians the rear antenna would give the highest exposure.

The researchers note that the SAR levels were always well below the limits of human exposure in the 100 kHz–6 GHz band established by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).  But with increased use of this “always ON” wireless technology concerns are raised for both human and environmental health. Studies show cumulative effects from RFR-EMF.

The authors point out that, “Most of the studies on vehicular connectivity are typically focused on aspects other than the assessment of RF-EMF exposure, such as the improvement, reliability, and safety of the transmission link in vehicular communications and the optimization of the antenna design”, rather than biologic safety or security. They highlight that more studies are needed to determine outdoor levels of RFR from these vehicles. This technology however will likely continue to mushroom without robust research, further confounding health effects as it will be omnipresent.

Road User Exposure from ITS-5.9 GHz Vehicular Connectivity.  Benini M et al. Sensors. 2(18), 6986;

Self Driving “Smart” Cars

In addition, driverless cars can run without 5G, however, industry is pushing 5G cell towers in an effort to connect electric cars to the grid.  Studies indicate a broad range of short and long term health effects from cell towers  which increase the closer one is to the tower. Artificial intelligence in cars can compromise privacy and security. Fire risks are emerging as well. The science is new in this field and scientific integrity is also being challenged. Please visit  for updated lists of scientific articles with full articles listed. Scroll down to see the list of scientific articles.

Cybersecurity and Hacking of Self Driving and Modern Cars 

There is increasing evidence that the wireless features in self driving and all new cars may be a risk for hacking. A Jan 3, 2023  article by a cybersecurity blogger revealed that he and colleagues found vulnerabilities in many makes of cars built in the last 5 years. These included:

  • Fully remote lock, unlock, engine start, engine stop, precision locate, flash headlights, and honk vehicles using only the VIN number
  • Internal cloud deployment services for managing AWS instances
  • Memory leaks leading to employee/customer PII disclosure, account access
  • Fully remote account takeover and PII disclosure via victim email address (name, phone number, email address, physical address)
  • Ability to lock users out of remotely managing their vehicle, change ownership
  • Full administrator access to a company-wide administration panel with ability to send arbitrary commands to an estimated 15.5 million vehicles (unlock, start engine, disable starter, etc.), read any device location, and flash/update device firmware
  • Ability to fully takeover any fleet (this would’ve allowed us to track & shut off starters for police, ambulances, and law enforcement vehicles for a number of different large cities and dispatch commands to those vehicles, e.g. “navigate to this location”) Serious Concerns That AI Self-Driving Cars Cybersecurity Will Be A Hacker Leak Like An Open Sieve

A 2021 Forbes article describes the problem with modern cars, “In brief, for each computer that you decide to add to a car, you are essentially putting another possible window or door in place (not literally, that’s a metaphor). Each computer becomes a potential portal or invitation to hacking. The cybersecurity “threat surface” or exposure realm for cars is getting higher and higher. All those microprocessors become a tantalizing target. They increase the risk of cyberhacking.”


Driverless Cars and 5G

Driverless cars are one of the major reasons there is a push for 5G cell towers and IoT. Self driving cars are already here however and connect to 4G systems and Wi Fi protocols. Some argue that 5G is a myth and not really needed. Telecom however is proposing a V2X system where cars have hundreds of sensors that connect over networks to everything.

What are the downsides of this new technology in addition to not having a real driver paying attention at the wheel? The amount of radiation exposure, both from radio frequency and magnetic fields, is especially concerning with the results of the 2018 NTP study on cell phones and cancer. DNA damage and cardiomyopathy were also found in the study group.

What are the concerns with driverless and electric vehicles?

  • Automobile accidents if there is a failure of the system
  • Hacking of  wireless GPS feature of car with potential for vehicle misdirection
  • Privacy will be eliminated
  • Central computers will look at traffic flow and direct car travel from a remote location without your input
  • The cars will have onboard computers and require sensor fusion of 3G,4G and 5G wireless radiation signals
  • Passengers will experience close exposure to very high radio frequency radiation and/or magnetic fields with increased health risks
  • People may develop electrohypersensitivity due to close proximity of radio frequency (RF) radiation and/or high magnetic fields
  • Those with electrohypersensitivity may have increase in symptoms
  • No premarket safety testing

Will Driverless Cars Cause DNA Damage and Cancer? April 15, 2018.  John P. Thomas, MSPH, writes in Health Impact News:

DAS Technology: Computers Take Over – Privacy Gone?

“DAS equipped cars warn drivers when they start migrating out of their lane or get to close to another vehicle. DAS active cruise control can slow the car or speed it up depending on proximity to other vehicles on the road, and DAS cars can even take total control over the car to handle the sometimes-difficult process of parallel parking. [4]”There is a need to identify and improve privacy in all aspects of technology. (Das et al 2021)

Hybrid and Electric Car Radiation Risks

Dr. Joel Moskowitz has compiled a robust list of articles and research papers on the measurements and risks of hybrid and electric cars at .

Scientific Articles

Here are some scientific articles from

  • Survey of Exposure to RF Electromagnetic Fields in the Connected Car: Survey of Existing and Forthcoming Scenarios.  (2022) IEEE. Tognola G et al. 25 April 2022.
  • Complex Electromagnetic Issues Associated with the Use of Electric Vehicles in Urban Transportation. (2022) Gryz K et al. Sensors (Basel) 2022 Mar; 22(5): 1719.
  • Mobile Phone Antenna’s EM Exposure Study on a Human Model Inside the Car. (2019)  Nozadze T, Jeladze V, Tabatadze V, Petoev I, Zaidze R. Mobile phone antenna’s EM exposure study on a homogeneous human model inside the car. 2018 XXIIIrd International Seminar/Workshop on Direct and Inverse Problems of Electromagnetic and Acoustic Wave Theory (DIPED). Tlibisi, Georgia. Sep 24-27, 2019/
  • Electromagnetic Exposure in Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (EV): How Safe Are You? Jose Joaquin Machado. Jan 8, 2021.
  • Review of Safety and Exposure Limits of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) in Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) Applications.  (2020) Asa E et al. 2020 IEEE Transportation Electrification Conference and Expo.
  • Patients with pacemakers or defibrillators do not need to worry about e-Cars: An observational study.  (2019) Lennerz C et al. Technol Health Care. 2019 Nov 8.
  • Long-Term Monitoring of Extremely Low Frequency Magnetic Fields in Electric Vehicles. (2019) Yang L et al.  Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Oct 7;16(19). pii: E3765.
  • Effect of static magnetic field of electric vehicles on driving performance and on neuro-psychological cognitive functions. (2019)  He Y et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Sep 12;16(18).
  • Evaluating extremely low frequency magnetic fields in the rear seats of the electric vehicles. (2018)  Lin J, Lu M, Wu T, Yang L, Wu TN. Evaluating extremely low frequency magnetic fields in the rear seats of the electric vehicles. Radiation Protection Dosimetry. 182(2):190-199. Dec 2018.
  • Possible Health Impacts of Advanced Vehicles Wireless Technologies. (2019) Judakova Z et al. (2019) Transportation Research Procedia. 40:1404-1411. 2019.
  • Radiofrequencies in cars: A public health threat- Letter from Dr. Theodore Metsis to Ronald N. Kostoff regarding the EMF Health Effects of Automotive Radiation.
  • Electric cars and EMI with cardiac implantable electronic devices: A cross-sectional evaluation. (2018)
    Lennerz C, O’Connor M, Horlbeck L, Michel J, Weigand S, Grebmer C, Blazek P, Brkic A, Semmler V, Haller B, Reents T, Hessling G, Deisenhofer I, Whittaker P, Lienkamp M, Kolb C. Letter: Electric cars and electromagnetic interference with cardiac implantable electronic devices: A cross-sectional evaluation. Annals of Internal Medicine. Apr 24, 2018.
  • Evaluation of electromagnetic exposure during 85 kHz wireless power transfer for electric vehicles.. (2017)  SangWook Park. IEEE Transactions on Magnetics. Volume: PP, Issue: 99. Sep 1, 2017.
  • Electric and magnetic fields <100 KHz in electric and gasoline-powered vehicles. (2016)  Tell RA et al. Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2016 Dec;172(4):541-546.
  • Characterization of extremely low frequency magnetic fields from diesel, gasoline and hybrid cars under controlled conditions. (2015)  Hareuveny R et al. . Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Jan 30;12(2):1651-66.
  • Passenger exposure to magnetic fields due to the batteries of an electric vehicle. Pablo Moreno-Torres Concha; Pablo Velez; Marcos Lafoz; Jaime R. Arribas. Passenger Exposure to Magnetic Fields due to the Batteries of an Electric Vehicle. IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology. 65(6):4564-4571. Jun 2016.

Related Scientific Articles on Magnetic Fields

References Other
[1] Verizon to launch 5G residential broadband services in up to 5 markets in 2018, Bob Varettoni.
[2] AT&T to Introduce 5G Wireless Service in 12 U.S. Cities in 2018, 2/21/2018.
[3] Wi-Cancer (home page), Retrieved 3/20/2018.
[4] The Best Driver-Assist Cars, Doug Newcomb and Alex Colon,, 1/18/2017.,2817,2485278,00.asp
[5] Why Ubers Self-Driving Crash Is Confusing for Humans, Aarian Marshall, WIRED, 3/31/2018.
[6] Tesla’s Autopilot Was Involved in Another Deadly Car Crash, Jack Stewart, WIRED, 3/30/2018.
[7] Mishaps: A grief history of driverless car crashes, Nilesh Christopher, The Economic Times, ET Bureau, 1/13/2017.
[8] How 5G will drive the adoption of self-driving cars, Jonathan Camhi, Business Insider, 12/15/2017.
[9] US set to drop proposed vehicle-to-vehicle communications mandate, Zac Estrada, The Verge, 11/1/2017.
[10] Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication, NHTSA, Retrieved 4/6/2018.
[11] DSRC or 5G? #innovationandimpact, YouTube.
[12] 2016 Fall Seminar #8: Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC): What, Why, and How? YouTube.
[13] Antenna Sickness,
[14] 5G Technology is Coming Linked to Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, Alzheimers, and Death, John P. Thomas, 3/21/2018.
[15] Wi-Eyes, Wi-Cancer.
[16] SK Telecom says 5G will be key for autonomous cars development, Juan Pedro Tomás, 3/1/2018.

Roadway Safety Institute Explanation of the Wi Fi and GPS Enabled Driverless Cars

2016 Fall Seminar #8: Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC): What, Why, and How

Brian Daugherty, CTO of the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) Discusses Cybersecurity and the Sensor Fusion Aspects of Driverless Cars

 DSRC or 5G Innovation and Impact