With cars increasingly becoming networked IT entities, the security threats are also growing. The most visible gateway for hacking attempts to cars is the infotainment domain. Thus, next generation automotive infotainment system architectures must address these issues from the ground up.
In the beginning
One of the first computer systems within an automobile was the 1978 Cadillac Seville's trip computer, run by a Motorola 6802 microprocessor with 128 bytes of RAM and two kilobytes of ROM. The printed source code could not have occupied more than a handful of pages.
In contrast, even the lowest end automobile today contains at least a dozen microprocessors; the highest end cars incorporate in excess of 100 microprocessors. This complexity is driven by the inexorable demand for better capabilities, the digitization of manual and mechanical functions, and the interconnection of our world. While this growth in electronic content has been beneficial to society, that growth is also a key source of our reliability, security, cost, and time-to-market woes. Next-generation infotainment system architecture must help developers manage this complexity.
Another important automotive trend is ECU consolidation to reverse the growth trend and instead merge disparate functions into a fewer number of electronic components. Next-generation infotainment system architecture must ensure that consolidated components do not interact in unforeseen ways, posing a reliability risk to critical systems.
For instance, in 2010, U.S. carmakers introduced features to enable car owners to manipulate the locks and start the engine from anywhere on the planet using a smartphone. This connectivity piggybacks on the car's remote telematics system, which has become standard in many models. Connecting the automobile to wide-area networks is the trigger that brings in the threat of sophisticated attackers.
For the complete article, which looks at further vulnerabilities, click here, courtesy of Automotive Designline Europe.
Receive a weekly highlights update delivered directly to your inbox by signing up for our weekly automotive electronics newsletter here