Rolling Out Automotive Security

The automotive industry isn’t as secretive as in the past. Working in a more open ecosystem is the only way to attain the level of sophistication that drivers demand.


The automotive world has traditionally been a secretive place as automakers made it their mission to hold design plans as close to their vests as possible.

With complexity in the automotive design process, that tradition has been changing as automakers work ever more closely with their ecosystem.

In one example, Adam Sherer, product management group director for automotive safety in the Systems Verification Group at Cadence confirmed the company is interacting with companies throughout the ecosystem. He asserted due to Cadence being is in a unique position with digital/analog semiconductor tools, board tools, IP, and services to connect them, and they’ve even rolled out an automotive functional safety solution. From his perspective, there is a great deal of focus throughout the chain to make sure that systems are verified to specification and compliant with ISO26262.

Other major EDA providers, Mentor Graphics and Synopsys, also have been playing a bigger role in the automotive industry.

On the IP and semiconductor side, companies like ARM, NXP, Marvell and many others have been putting their ducks in a row to address near term and long term opportunities in the automotive space. ARM in particular has an extensive roadmap for its cores to address specific needs in the automotive design chain.

From NXP’s point of view, Timo Van Roermund, security architect explained the company regularly aligns with both OEMs and Tier-1s, as well as with other players in the ecosystem. “In the end, we provide products to Tier-1s, so we of course align with them to understand their needs. But we also often engage with OEMs to align with them on their future needs with respect to new (security) technologies, features and applications.”
And bringing it back around to security, the interplay of the entire automotive ecosystem will be crucial to making it happen.

At this point, automakers are definitely aware of the need to deliver secure systems and vehicles, including OTA mechanisms, he observed. “Behind the scenes, most OEMs and Tier-1s have already taken important steps in the past few years to improve the security of their vehicles and systems. However, it is not realistic to change the complete vehicle E&E architecture from one day to another, due to the complexity of these networks and systems.”

What this means is that you won’t see the full gamut of security features at the dealership. “Security solutions will likely be introduced step by step, starting with solutions that address the most urgent security needs, such as gateways and firewalls that separate e.g. infotainment systems from safety-critical ECUs, followed by additional security measures to further harden the in-vehicle network,” Roermund added.

The good news is that so much technological development is happening, it won’t be long before buckling up for a road trip or just a quick trip groceries is much safer than ever.

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