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Wednesday, 12 October 2016 23:57

What to Expect: Vehicle Hacking, Accident Avoidance Technology & Cybersecurity

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Leading automakers and experts in vehicle security, telematics technology, and diagnostics and repair shared their insights with the collision repair industry during the Technology & Telematics Forum at NACE CARS Expo & Conference in August. They discussed how advanced technologies, connectivity and the Internet are changing the automotive industry.

Presented by the Automotive Service Association (ASA) and Automotive Technology Experts, the forum was sponsored by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a group of 12 of the leading car manufacturers in the world.

Here are some of the highlights from the three presentations: Vehicle Hacking, Accident Avoidance Technology and Vehicle Security.


Vehicle Hacking

Donny Seyfer, chairman of ASA, moderated a session on vehicle hacking that featured Craig Smith, a reverse engineer and “white hat hacker,” and Mahbubul Alam, who specializes in developing solutions to respond to vehicle hacking.

As a “white hat hacker,” Smith tests what the “bad guys” might do to hack a car. “If I want to go after a vehicle, typically what I’ll do for the most impact is see how far away I can manipulate the physical aspects of the car,” he said. He will usually look at 3G or cellular connections and attempt to unlock the doors or start the vehicle. Smith predicted that encryption will increasingly be utilized to address hacking as more technology is incorporated into vehicles.

With the development of new software, connectivity and content all happening at the same time, Alam said that over the next 10 years consumers and shops are probably going to see the the biggest change in vehicles since the days of Henry Ford.

He gave a simple analogy, comparing the vehicles of today to a hamburger. Like a burger with all of the different layers of condiments, the technologies in vehicles are being added on top of one another. “They have never been designed to be a single system,” said Alam. “They all came from different suppliers. Security was just an afterthought that came along.”

He stressed the importance of designing security for vehicles from the ground up and referred to the five “Cs” that will need to be addressed:


1) Chipsets (that go into your electronics)
2) Clients
3) Connectivity
4) Cloud-based
5) Content being shared

While developing future security systems, Alam said car manufacturers should consider borrowing best practices from other industries such as finance, defense, utility, aviation and manufacturing, to determine how they might apply to vehicles.

The amount of software and technology going into cars is increasing every year. Currently, vehicles have approximately 80 percent hardware and 20 percent software. Analysts project that nine years from now, in 2025, it is estimated there will be 60 percent software and 40 percent hardware.

With the close link between data and software, Alam said manufacturers will need to monitor what types of software are on the vehicles to make updates when new solutions are launched and monitor how they are functioning. This is similar to a mobile phone, which needs to be continually upgraded.

Also similar to a mobile phone, consumers will have the option to upgrade when and if they want to. “When it comes to vehicles, there are certain demographics they aren’t going to feel comfortable updating,” said Alam. Instead they will go to dealerships, which will become an extension of the OEMs when it comes to updates.

These are all new concepts for the auto industry and Alam stressed the importance of matching technology with human acceptance when deciding which solutions to use in vehicles that are manufactured in the future.

Summary of presentation based on information shared by Craig Smith, Theia Labs; and Mahbubul Alam, Movimento.


Accident Avoidance Technology

Roy Schnepper, chairman elect of ASA, moderated a session on accident avoidance technology. Garrick Forkenbrock from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), spoke about the administration’s focus on crash avoidance technologies. He said their mission is to save lives, prevent injuries and reduce the economic costs due to road traffic safety through education, research and safety standards.

According to the NHTSA, about 32,500 people died on American roadways in 2015. This number is up 7.7 percent from 2014. Ninety-four percent of the crashes can be attributed to some form of human choice or error. “When we look at these numbers, there is a big opportunity for crash avoidance technologies to improve safety,” said Forkenbrock.

During the session, he highlighted some of the crash avoidance technologies currently available. There are two main types: passive and active. Passive avoidance technologies have been around for several years and include forward collision warning, lane departure warning and blind spot detection.

Those in the “active” category physically change the state of the vehicle and are becoming more common. There is Lateral Deviation Support (LDS), which includes lane keeping support, lane centering control and blind spot intervention; and Automotive Emergency Braking (AEB), which includes dynamic brake support, crash imminent braking and pedestrian crash avoidance and mitigation. AEB systems, which vary by vehicle, use sensors to detect objects in a driver’s path and become operational just before the crash.

NHTSA has performed research on crash avoidance technology for the last six years. This includes test track evaluations, safety benefit estimation, crash data analysis and ultimately developing objective test procedures to evaluate system performance.

“We believe in the technology are making efforts to disseminate our research findings in reports and presentations,” said Forkenbrock. “We have worked with the industry and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to establish a voluntary commitment to have most automakers make AEB standard equipment by the year 2022.” There are also plans to incorporate AEB into the new cars assessment program for the model year 2018.

According to NHTSA traffic safety facts, there are about 1.7 million rear-end crashes each year. Although not all of them would benefit from AEB, Forkenbrock said that approximately 910,000 per year could potentially be avoided or mitigated. It is also estimated that the combination of forward collision warning, crash imminent braking and dynamic brake support could prevent 200,000 minor injuries, 4,000 serious injuries and 100 fatalities.

Approximately 613,501 lives have been saved by auto safety technologies over the last 50 years, according to NHTSA. “Safety will continue to be a major influencing factor for innovation including crash avoidance technologies,” said Forkenbrock.

More information and videos are available on the following websites:
www.nhtsa.gov; www.safercar.gov; www.youtube.com/user/USDOTNHTSA/Featured

Following Forkenbrock’s presentation, Mark Allen from Audi talked about the types of driver assistance/crash avoidance technologies from the car manufacturer, such as Audi’s adaptive cruise control, active lane assist and top view camera. This was followed by a summary presented by Richard Salceda and Matthew Valbuena from Mazda, about the company’s new technologies. These include driving position and interior layout, radar cruise control and the lane keep assist system.

More information about these technologies can be found on their websites: www.audi.com and www.mazda.com.


Vehicle Security

During the third portion of the forum, Bob Redding, lobbyist for ASA DC, moderated a seminar on vehicle cybersecurity with guest speakers Lauren Smith from the Future of Privacy Forum and Bob Gruszczynski from Volkswagen.

Smith said that transportation is expected to change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50. One of the biggest changes is that cars are increasingly relying on more data and sensors, and becoming more like a computer.

Data collection in vehicles isn’t new by any means. Computerized systems have been in cars since the 1960s and data recorders, used since the 1990s, are in 96 percent of cars today. However, there have been many recent developments.

“The prediction is that 50 billion connected devices will exist by 2020,” said Smith. Not only is more data being collected, but it is also being communicated outside of vehicles through the manufacturer, a plug-in or a service installed by the owner of the car.

This can include sensitive data such as where someone is located as well as biometric information that collects physical and biological characteristics of the driver. Smith cited the example of internal cameras that capture facial recognition, voice samples and the individuals who are in the car.

Another area of sensitive data being collected includes behavioral driving patterns. Behaviors such as speed, steering and braking could lead to safety features like driver correction and alerts but according to reports, your behavioral driving patterns could be as identifiable as a thumbprint.

Smith said it’s important to look at what types of images are being stored on the car and being sent off and how this information is being used.

As part of the Future of Privacy Forum, she said their approach is to determine best practices for these types of new technologies and figure out how to enable the technologies to exist and be useful but also to think about consumer protection. “Yes, your car is learning more and more about you and sometimes that sets off red flags,” said Smith. “But the reality is that what your car knows about you can save your life and we’re here to foster those conversations.”

Gruszczynski spoke to attendees about the short- and long-term solutions to address cybersecurity issues. These include vehicle manufacturers using gateways, shutting down automatic enhanced diagnostic recognition and transmitting the data to a cloud.

“It’s the responsibility of the repair shop owner to make sure that the systems in the shop are secure,” said Gruszczynski. “You don’t need to have an IT guy on staff or on call, but you should have somebody on your staff who does understand all of the aspects of the data that comes from the vehicle and where it goes.” He also recommended that shops do their best to stay educated about new requirements.

“I think there needs to be continuous work together to make sure the data stays safe, consumers stay safe and vehicles stay safe,” said Gruszczynski. Smith agreed. “This is the very beginning of this debate and I think as the data grows and as the technologies grow this will become a bigger and bigger topic,” she said.

Summary of presentation based on information shared by Lauren Smith, Future of Privacy Forum; and Bob Gruszczynski, Volkswagen.

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