Connected autonomous vehicles: cybersecurity innovations tested

connected autonomous vehicles
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The Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick has conducted a series of tests analysing the cybersecurity of connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

WMG tested four key innovations geared towards shoring up the privacy and security of connected autonomous vehicles as part of its Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled Transport and Mobility Demonstrator project, which is funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation. The innovations, which were developed through the UK’s inter-university PETRAS IoT Research Hub, were tested in real world conditions on campuses at the Universities of Warwick and Surrey and Millbrook Proving Ground.

The innovations trialled by WMG on connected autonomous vehicles included:

  • Group signatures – rather than using an individual digital signature to communicate, which can leave a vehicle vulnerable to being tracked or targeted, the development of a digital group signature which can be shared between a platoon of connected autonomous vehicles enables a greater degree of privacy and anonymity;
  • Authentication prioritisation, which prioritises the verification of messages sent to the vehicle to lower the risk of malicious incorrect messaging;
  • Decentralised Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) – rather than storing vehicle’s public keys in the cloud, this innovation deploys edge computing for greater security; and
  • Decentralised PKI with pseudonyms, which also uses edge computing technology but also periodically assigns new identities to connected autonomous vehicles on the road to reduce the risk of identity tracking.

WMG project lead Professor Carsten Maple said: “The cybersecurity of [connected autonomous vehicles] is key to make sure that when the vehicles are on the roads, the data is trustworthy and that vehicle communications do not compromise privacy. We tested four innovations developed in the PETRAS Project; and being able to apply them to the real world is the first major step in testing security of CAV systems. The units being investigated to be used in cars and on the roadside were taken to Parliament in February to demonstrate how they work; now we can focus on further testing in the real world. Future work include will include testing on 5G systems and with different types of attacks.”

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