Bentley has been unveiling what it calls the first hybrid electric super-luxury car at the Geneva Motor Show. Other manufacturers (like Porsche) may disagree with this assertion, but the launch marks something of a landmark for the industry with more and more emphasis being paid to the new generation of electric and hybrid vehicles. Indeed, during the company’s latest financial results, Pirelli’s Marco Tronchettic Provera even spoke about the digitisation of the company’s business as if it is normal – something that was followed by the launch of Pirelli’s Cyber Car in Geneva at the start of March. In short, the Cyber Car system offers an OEM solution to send data from the tyres to the car and from the car to the cloud for the benefit of that particular driver as well as road-users in general.
Seventy-four per cent of drivers think insurers should provide cover for damage caused by hackers accessing control systems in driverless cars, according to a survey by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart.
Almost 1,200 people responded to the survey which sought opinions on what driverless cars will mean for them as the UK heads towards autonomous vehicles becoming mainstream. The results of this survey have been used to guide IAM RoadSmart’s response to the Centre for Connected & Autonomous Vehicles’ consultation, Pathway to Driverless Cars.
Horiba MIRA is strengthening its cyber security capabilities by offering full vehicle Tempest testing, as a result of its partnership with Secure Systems and Technologies (SST), a CPTAS accredited body.
The Tempest standard enables First of Type Platform tests to be carried out at MIRA for military manufacturers looking to understand the susceptibility of computer and telecommunications devices in their vehicles to hacking. These devices include computers, cables, telephones, radio signals and operating systems, which all emit electromagnetic radiation (EMR) that can be used by dishonest interceptors to reconstruct intelligible data.
Tyres have been getting cleverer for some time. RFID chips have been embedded in tyres for a decade or more across a range of applications. Michelin, for example, has patented a special way of embedding RFID chips in truck tyres before curing in such a way that chips are not destroyed by the intense heat and/pressure applied during vulcanisation. As a result, the French manufacturer is able to track its premium commercial vehicle products from new tyre through several retreading cycles. Goodyear has been using the technology in Nascar and other motorsport activities for some time. And Chinese tyre manufacturing equipment maker Mesnac first showed Tyres & Accessories a tyre with multiple RFID chips embedded a decade ago. As useful as all this is, it is only one dimension of what is going on. In short it is just one example of how tyres are now getting even smarter.
Some car infotainment systems are vulnerable to a hack attack that could put lives at risk. The vulnerability was exposed by NCC Group after it found a way to carry out attacks by sending data using digital audio broadcasting (DAB) radio signals.
Modern cars are in danger of being hacked by criminal gangs, motoring experts have warned once again. Possible motivations for hacking are said to include theft of information, extortion and even causing vehicles to crash.
Security vulnerabilities in connected cars and in TPMS/RFID systems have been identified before (see “Automotive suppliers, smart cars, intelligent tyres and safety concerns” in last February’s magazine and “Researchers Hack a Hole in TPMS” in the September 2010 issue of Tyres & Accessories), but now attention is turning to cars fitted with wireless networks and Internet. The fear is that these connections can be exploited by hackers with access and control a car’s systems, including braking and acceleration potentially being overriding remotely, according to security consultants.
TRL, which until recent years was known as the Transport Research Laboratory, has reported that it is investigating “the everyday risks of cyber security breaches as vehicles become more digitally controlled.”
According to researchers such research is increasingly important as the next generation of autonomous vehicles make their debut next year (something that has been covered by Tyrepress/Tyres & Accessories a number of times in the past – see “Automotive suppliers, smart cars, intelligent tyres and safety concerns” and “Researchers Hack a Hole In Tyre Tag Security” for more on this subject). The specific risk is said to be related to the interception of data packages communicated to and from vehicles is ever present. Therefore the encryption and decryption of software and data is likely to become “the battle ground between the vehicle manufacturers and the cyber terrorists or hackers as programmers will need to be able to ensure rigour in the systems’ coding”, says TRL