Earlier this week, Team Lightbulb hosted its annual Broadband Conference at CES 2016. A number of topics were discussed at various panels throughout the day, including the steady evolution of intelligent transportation systems (ITS).
Jill Ingrassia, the Managing Director of Government Relations and Traffic Safety Advocacy at AAA, told conference attendees the auto industry has managed to significantly reduce the amount of vehicle crashes in recent years. However, more progress must be made, as thousands of people a year still lose their lives in traffic accidents.
According to Ingrassia, connected vehicle technology can help reduce accidents. As the AAA exec noted, multiple intelligent transportations systems – already deployed in the field – have continued to evolve over the years. The next stage of ITS is expected to include advanced systems, such as lane departure and forward collision warnings, braking and parking assistance systems, as well as adaptive headlights. All will be designed to help counteract human error and tendencies.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Ingrassia acknowledged that the industry faces a myriad of challenges in designing and deploying fully autonomous vehicles. Indeed, automakers have entered a transitional stage between semi-autonomous and fully autonomous capabilities. This evolution, says Ingrassia, presents its own set of concerns.
According to Joe Gullo, the senior director for Rambus Ecosystem strategy and development, security is one primary concern the industry must immediately address for intelligent transportation systems. To be sure, modern vehicles are essentially a network of networks – packed with a range of embedded communication methods and capabilities.
“Of course there is broad consensus that vehicle cyber security ranks as a top priority for the automotive industry,” Gullo told Rambus Press during an interview on the sidelines of CES 2016. “Unfortunately, there are still no clearly defined vehicle security specifications. This is not a problem that will be going away soon. In fact, it will only get worse as more and more connected vehicle systems are manufactured and installed in the next generation of semi-autonomous cars and trucks.”
Potential vulnerabilities include altering over the air (OTA) firmware updates, unsecure vehicle-to-vehicle communication, the unauthorized collection of driver or passenger information, seizing control of critical systems such as brakes or accelerators, intercepting vehicle data and tampering with third-party dongles.
As Gullo emphasizes, adopting a hardware-first approach to security and implementing the necessary functionality on the SoC level is a key element of protecting intelligent transportation systems – both now and in a fully autonomous future.
“To avoid potentially dangerous scenarios, vehicles should be equipped with robust DPA countermeasures to protect against side-channel attacks,” Gullo added. “In addition, the automotive industry needs to shield vehicle peripherals and components against tampering, as well as provide secure OTA updates for various systems.”