Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

China claims quantum security hacking breakthrough; Infineon adds smell sensor; Cadence uncorks auto DSP with Atmos support; BMW prototype changes colors.


This was a tough week for cybersecurity. Chinese researchers claim to have figured out a way to crack some of the most advanced security algorithms with only 372 physical qubits, versus millions of qubits as previously theorized. This can be used to both speed up quantum decryption and to create large integers that can withstand future attacks. If it proves out, that approach would significantly accelerate the timeline for replacing the RSA-2048 scheme, a public key cryptosystem that is widely used for secure data transmission by financial institutions and for e-mail. Their paper is being debated on a number of security-related sites.

Meanwhile, security researchers say they have discovered vulnerabilities in automotive software and were able to perform various actions remotely, such as starting and stopping the engine, locking / unlocking doors, honking horns, flashings headlamps, accessing files, executing code, and changing the car ownership. Using a vehicle identification number (VIN) and a misconfigured SSO, the researchers were able to hack into company websites that gave them access to the cars and the car information. Web application security researcher Sam Curry details what they found in a blog. The cars involved were made by Kia, Honda, Infiniti, Nissan, Acura, Hyundai, Genesis, BMW, Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Ford, Reviver, Porsche, Toyota, Jaguar, and Land Rover. The hackers accessed the web site of Spireon, a GPS tracking company that provides tracking services to OnStar and accessed a companywide panel that in theory could send instructions to 15 million cars that it tracks. The researchers also discovered that SiriusXM had leaked AWS keys.

And that’s just the beginning. Securing over-the-air updates in automotive applications remains a challenge, one that will only become more difficult as the amount of software increases in vehicles.

On a more positive note, Qualcomm is working satellite company Iridium to add satellite-based two-way messaging to next-generation high-end Android smartphones. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Satellite will enable emergency messaging in locations with insufficient WiFi or cellular access. Garmin will support for emergency messaging.

BMW showed off a prototype of a talking car at CES that also changes colors. The car has a HUD (heads up display) on the windshield and lacks display screens.

And Ram revealed its BEV concept truck at CES. One fun, or scary, feature on the prototype is the truck can follow its driver when the driver is walking, as a dog might follow its owner.

Pervasive computing

2022 was a record year for orbital launches, with the U.S. launching 78 — mostly attributed to SpaceX’s 61 launches, according to Aviation Week. Globally 186 flights launched in 2022, six of which did not reach orbit.

Infineon is adding a smell sensor — the XENSIV PAS CO2 — to its audio-sensing rainforest Guardian devices, developed with Rainforest Connection to listen for forest destruction (chainsaws). The devices, installed in over 500 trees in 30 countries now, have collected more than 92 million minutes of sound recordings in recent years, including recordings of endangered and endemic species, valuable for scientific research and conservation. With the CO2 sensor installed, the Rainforest Connection can link the sound recordings with temperature, humidity, ozone, and now CO2 data to their biodiversity analysis.

NuCurrent and Infineon are partnering on a smart lock and energy harvesting technology to eliminate batteries in locks. The companies will use Infineon’s single-chip near-field communication (NFC) tag-side controllers with integrated H-bridge and energy harvesting modules offer a single-chip solution for developing cost-effective, miniaturized actuation or sensing applications operating in passive or active mode. The partnership will incorporate NuCurrent’s overall wireless power systems technology and design capabilities to expand the market via OEMs.

Verizon shut off its 3G CDMA network on December 31, 2022. AT&T shut its 3G CDMA network down last February.

Automotive, mobility

Cadence uncorked low-power DSP IP that supports Dolby Atmos, the first of its kind. Atmos adds vertical dimension to sound. The company also introduced 8,533 Mbps LPDDR5X memory interface IP, which is 33% faster than the previous generation. The IP includes a PHY and controller based on the latest DFI 5.1 spec.

Baidu is expanding its commercial driverless robotaxi service in the city of Wuhan, in Hubei province, China. The company is offering rides sans safety driver. China awarded a permit to Baidu in August 2022.

The third-party testing certifier TÜV SÜD recommended Mobileye’s autonomous self-driving system Mobileye Drive for a permit to operate in vehicles on German roads. A NIO ES8s AV robotaxi equipped with the technology is in a pilot project in Germany. Mobileye also announced that Taiwan-based Wistron NeWeb Corp. (WNC) will produce Mobileye’s software-defined imaging radars. Mobileye’s revenue pipeline of ADAS business through 2030 is more than $17 billion, $3.5 billion of which is projected revenue from SuperVision.

Mercedes-Benz plans to build its own high-power EV charging network around the world, starting in the North America this year and finishing by 2027. In total, 2,000 charging stations and 10,000 chargers are planned. In the U.S., 400 charging stations with 2,500 chargers are planeed and Mercedes will tap ChargePoint and MN8 Energy, the solar energy provider, as a partners.

Learn more about the automotive industry’s drive to software-defined vehicles.

Nichia and Infineon launched an integrated micro-LED light engine for HD adaptive driving beam applications. The micro-LED matrix solution, the 16,384 pixel µPLS micro-Pixelated Light Solution, will be seen in a German premium vehicle in 2023. The light engine can project markings on the road.

Infineon is using Green Hills Software’s real-time operating system (RTOS) and development environments in Infineon’s TRAVEO T2G Body MCU (used in body control modules, door, window, sunroof, and seat control units, smartphone terminals, and wireless charging units) and its TRAVEO T2G Cluster MCU for instrument clusters. GHS’ μ-velOSity RTOS and MULTI advanced development environment are ASIL-certified. µ-velOSity needs only a few kilobytes of ROM and boots quickly in a minimum of processor cycles.

See which automotive component startups were funded this month

The de-duped data from 200 million Twitter profiles, down from 400 million in the original December attack, were uploaded and offered for free on a hacker forum. The original cost the hackers as for the 400 million profile was $200,000. If you wait you the info cleaned and free.

How secure are RISC-V chips? It comes down to the fundamentals of design.

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