Innovative Cybersecurity Solutions Accelerate TTM For The Software-Defined Vehicle

An integrated approach to the hardware security module IP and software stack is essential.


The automotive industry is undergoing a transformative shift towards the software-defined vehicle (SDV), signaling a new era that prioritizes customer-centric mobility and presents new, data-based revenue opportunities across the automotive value chain and ecosystem. However, this transition also presents many challenges, from managing increasingly complex hardware (HW) and software (SW) design and integration to meeting stringent safety and security regulations for compliance and market access. In addition, there is also the constant pressure to achieve faster time to market (TTM) while delivering innovative solutions that enhance the customer driving experience.

In my last blog, I emphasized the importance of strategic collaborations and innovative solutions to overcome these challenges and unlock the full potential of the software-defined vehicle. In January, ETAS and Rambus announced plans to co-develop and provide a bundled cybersecurity solution; I am pleased to now be able to share more details about this innovative solution. But before diving into the solution, let’s take a moment to understand the current landscape that led to this collaboration.

Over the past decade, automotive-grade SoCs have evolved dramatically, transitioning from simple microcontroller-based chips to sophisticated microprocessor-based SoCs. This transformation has been driven by demands for advanced computing power to support diverse functionalities and applications including infotainment, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and automation. These powerful SoCs have laid the foundation for SDVs. However, their heterogeneous, chiplet-based architecture poses significant challenges, complicating security implementation and integration efforts for automotive OEMs and Tier 1 system engineering teams.

Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) have emerged as a key component in automotive cybersecurity. These modules offer tamper-resistant cryptographic operations and secure key management. Originally standalone chips or embedded within automotive microcontrollers, HSMs have evolved into siloed HW blocks (IP) instantiated in SoCs, reflecting the industry’s increased emphasis on cybersecurity.

To address the challenges posed by complex SoC architectures and stringent safety and security requirements, an integrated approach to the HSM hardware and software stack is essential. More specifically, synthesizable HSM HW IP needs to come with pre-integrated, pre-validated embedded HSM SW. This enables a technology-node agnostic, full HW IP-SW stack ready to be integrated into any SoC accelerating HW development and allowing the security SW integration development to start 18-24 months earlier at the Tier 1 or OEM level.

It was with this idea in mind that the collaboration between ETAS and Rambus began and the result is a new integrated hardware security module (iHSM). This new product family combines the Rambus RT-64x Root of Trust IP with the ETAS embedded cybersecurity software solution, ESCRYPT CycurSoC. This solution, designed for automotive security use cases, offers a pre-integrated, pre-validated SW-HW security stack, critical for establishing a security enclave on next-generation automotive silicon designs.

Key features of the iHSM solution include:

  • Compatibility with open and standardized interfaces like SHE+, AUTOSAR Classic, Adaptive, POSIX, and Hypervisor to Host applications.
  • CMOS node agnostic design, ensuring flexibility and scalability across different SoC architectures.
  • Compliance with ISO 26262 ASIL-B and ISO 21434 CSMS standards, essential for automotive safety and security.

The iHSM solution from ETAS and Rambus represents a significant advancement in the HSM space, offering automotive stakeholders a comprehensive and streamlined approach to security integration. By reducing implementation complexity and risk while accelerating time to market, this collaboration sets a new standard for safety and security in the automotive industry. To find out more, check out the podcast “Accelerating the SDV Time to Market” in which I join Omar Alshabibi from ETAS to discuss the challenges associated with realizing the vision of the SDV and how the ETAS and Rambus iHSM solution can help.

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