In-Vehicle Networks Are Safety, Security Dependent

The more that is integrated into the automobile, the more risks emerge.

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It’s clear that managing, defining and prioritizing data traffic within vehicles is becoming an enormous challenge particularly with the growing number of networks , and underpining it all are safety and security concerns.

Rob Knoth, product management director for the DSG group at Cadence observed, “The more you try to integrate traffic onto one bus, the more you are exposing systems that could get hijacked with the tradeoffs being safety, security and cost.”

Illustrating this is addition of numerous cameras around the car which generate lots of data, he said. “There’s a tremendous amount of time- sensitive data that has to get processed in there, but this is also something that can start to make the car much more vulnerable to security attacks given that the data is being transmitted over Ethernet [easily hackable].”

So having Ethernet cables running all over the car isn’t necessarily the safest idea when you’re talking about intrusion, which is still one of the problems that’s happening today. To address this, there is more discussion around time-sensitive networks to really understand how time sensitive the information is.

Also, Knoth added, there is a huge amount of IP and software related to this, and it is the way the majority of this is currently being apporached. The problem is, it’s only going to get worse.

On another important safety note, last month the U.S. Department of Transportation issued its long-awaited proposed rule that would advance the deployment of connected vehicle technologies throughout the U.S. light vehicle fleet with the intent to reduce crashes on U.S. roadways.

According to the, ‘The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,’ this would enable vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology on all new light-duty vehicles, enabling a multitude of new crash-avoidance applications that, once fully deployed, could prevent hundreds of thousands of crashes every year by helping vehicles “talk” to each other.

Subsequently, NXP, the leading supplier of semiconductors for the automotive industry, applauded the Notice.

Kurt Sievers, general manager of the automotive business at NXP said in a statement, “We are proud of the leading role that NXP and its partners have played over the past several years in developing and testing secure, privacy-respecting and reliable V2X technology. After more than 1 million days of V2X testing, we are contributing to the ‘state of the art’ and are convinced that the technology is mature, safe and ready for deployment worldwide.

He said the market has suffered from a chicken or the egg situation in that the safety technology needs to be in both your car and the other car that is putting you at risk. He said this decision provides a clear path forward for the industry and political decision makers to accelerate V2X introduction.

Interestingly, Sievers added that there can be a positive impact even if only 5 to 10 percent of cars are equipped with V2X — such as synchronizing the speed with other vehicles to improve the traffic flow.

Food for thought.

Are you attending CES this week in Las Vegas with an eye towards automotive? If so, please comment below with your thoughts.