MADISON, Wis. – Many representatives in the automotive and tech industries see the eventual launch of autonomous cars as a given, although they disagree broadly on issues like the degree of autonomy and its timing.
Today, between auto executives and their new bedfellows from non-automotive industries, the eventuality of autonomy is as far as they tend to agree on anything.
If, and more importantly how openly, they share knowledge and collaborate on cross-industry projects — beyond the usual diplomatic platitudes — remains to be seen.
Two hard problems
In preparing for the era of autonomous cars, “I see two hard problems that the industry needs to solve,” said Egil Juliussen, director of research for infotainment and ADAS at IHS Automotive. They are “cybersecurity and software reliability,” he said.
The market has seen a flurry of announcements — often made by startups and tech companies — on automotive software and cybersecurity solutions. These are often focused on a single element, or certain parts of automotive software and security chains.
While this scattershot approach might offer opportunities for tech companies to push their technologies in the automotive market, is anyone actually helping carmakers take a holistic view on automotive security and software reliability?
For example, beyond the standards activities of SAE and IEEE, are there trade groups ready to bridge car OEMs and tech companies and take a lead in designing a full automotive security platform?
It turns out that these sorts of long-term thinkers are few and far between.
Juliussen mentioned a project called Uptane, under which a group of researchers, students and developers from New York University, the University of Michigan and the Southwest Research Institute are developing a software architecture designed to combat intrusions during ECU firmware updates.
The architecture is intended as an open platform for software developers, mathematicians and cryptographers to participate in its development and testing. The Uptane working group revealed its design at a meeting with automakers and suppliers in January in Ann Arbor, Mich.
This week, an industry alliance, originally founded by Aeris, Intel and Uber a year ago to foster cross-industry collaborations on automotive security technology, relaunched itself under the new name FASTR (Future of Automotive Security Technology Research).
FASTR is trying to expand its reach and ecosystem, aiming to “eventually include automotive OEMs, tier ones, academics, hackers, start-ups and tech giants,” Craig Hurst, FASTR’s executive director, told EE Times. Hurst is director of Industry Alliances and the Marketing Transportation Solutions Division at Intel.
Next page: Hurdles to clear