Week In Review: IoT, Security, Autos

FPGA combo; edge development platform; beehive monitors; security labels; good practices auto report.


Internet of Things
Amazon is expanding its IoT services. Alexa Voice Services will require less processing power on the device, moving from the 100MB of RAM and Arm Cortex A microprocessor to 1MB and an Arm Cortex-M. Amazon will do more of the processing in the cloud, enabling developers to add Alexa to smaller, single purpose devices. “It just opens up the what we call the real ambient intelligence and ambient computing space,” said Dirk Didascalou, AWS IoT VP, in a TechCrunch interview. Also the company is adding Docker containers and Stream Manager (a data steam manager) feature to its Greengrass IoT edge development platform for IoT developers.

Aldec launched a development kit that combines two Microsemi (now part of Microchip) low-power FPGAs on a single prototyping board. The configuration was requested by customers who want “access to one or both of Microchip’s popular FPGAs,” said Zibi Zalewski, general manager of Aldec’s Hardware Division, in a press release. The idea is to let engineers doing “what if” prototyping and optimization early in design process. Aldec’s HES-MPF500-M2S150 dev board has one Microsemi PolarFire and one SmartFusion2 FPGA. The PolarFire MPF500T FPGA logic module has 481k logic elements, 1,480 math blocks, 33Mbits of RAM, 584 I/Os and security. It is used in wireline access networks, cellular infrastructure, defense, commercial aviation, industrial automation, and IoT. Microsemi’s SmartFusion2 M2S150 SoC is a host module with ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller subsystem with DDR3 memory controllers.

IoT bee hive monitoring is not a new idea but AI may help stop the spread of colony collapse. Nvidia reports that Israeli startup Beewise is using a neural network trained on bee images to find bees with the varroa mite quickly and decide what to do with the hive (such as quarantine or spray with pesticides). The system is designed to be automatic and the data is going into Nvidia’s Jetson to be processed in real time.

Finland launched a cybersecurity label for IoT devices based on EN 303 645. Released by Traficom, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency, the label came out of a pilot project led by the NCSC-FI with companies Cozify Oy, DNA Plc and Polar Electro Oy. These companies are the first companies to be certified under the new Cybersecurity labels. “The security level of devices in the market varies, and until now there has been no easy way for consumers to know which products are safe and which are not. The Cybersecurity label launched today is a tool that makes purchase decisions easier by helping consumers identify devices that are sufficiently secure,” says Director Jarkko Saarimäki from the National Cyber Security Centre Finland (NCSC-FI) at Traficom.

The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) has issued a good practices report on cybersecurity for V2X communications and (semi-)autonomous cars. ENISA works with the EU states, industry and citizens to recommend best practices but does not produce legal standards. Tricking LiDAR systems, malicious sensor manipulations, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) spoofing, and confusing or fooling the AI-based functions are all attack vectors. The free study aims to “the aim of this study is to identify the good practices in order to ensure smart cars security against cyber threats, while focusing on V2X communications and (semi-) autonomous cars18.”

Smart e-cockpits developed by NXP and Chinese companies Dongfeng-Nissan Technology Center and Hangsheng Electronics have hit mass production. NXP supplies the i.MX 8QuadMax applications processor for the Venucia T90 e-cockpit. The e-cockpit has multimedia digital clusters, vehicle-to-home connectivity, online navigation, and sensor-based climate control, according to a joint press release.

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