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Connected vehicles ‘need cyber centre of excellence'

14/05/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

Efforts to build an infrastructure for connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) need a stronger emphasis on cyber security, according to a new report.

Aerial view of roads

Published by Zenzic, a group that brings together industry, government and academia to promote the development of the sector, it calls for the setting up a cyber centre of excellence focused on connected and automated mobility (CAM).

Titled Cyber Resilience and Connected and Automated Mobility, the report is based on a series of projects exploring different aspects of the issue, work on which was supported by Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV).

It reflects a growing consensus that the development of a network for CAVs, a key element of the Government’s transport strategy, provides a new target for cyber attacks and that there is a pressing need to develop effective protection.

Mark Cracknell, head of technology at Zenzic, said that two key lessons emerged from the projects. One is that a centre of excellence is critical to ensuring the UK has a ‘home’ for continued research and monitoring.

The other is that there is a need for a single framework to support collaboration in developing solutions. Setting it up would involve combining the outputs of the projects.

Capability cluster

These have prompted the core recommendations, which include the creation of the centre of excellence, which should act as a cluster or hub of existing capabilities. It should ensure that any gaps are filled through the appropriate funding.

Along with this should be the development of a capability to monitor the operational security of connected and self-driving vehicles, and provide a base for an ongoing programme of research and development in the field. This would involve watching for emerging threats and promoting best practice in cyber security.

In addition, the report points to a package of work that can draw all the relevant methodologies into a single framework.

The projects covered themes including the monitoring of CAVs and supporting infrastructure, threats to the connected vehicle network, threats to automated vehicles and counter measures and risk mitigation.

Hinge for success

“It’s clear from the project findings that the successful deployment of connected and self-driving vehicles is hinged upon the prioritisation of investment in cyber security and digital resilience,” Cracknell said.

“The projects have made a strong start by addressing key areas of how we can examine, monitor and research emerging and live threats to connected and self-driving vehicles, but more work is required.

“Together with CCAV and Innovate UK, Zenzic will be looking at future programmes to continue to address these topics and position the UK in a strong place of leadership by establishing the cyber centre of excellence in the UK.”

The organisation now plans to further define future programmes of work. It has been funded with £200 million from government and industry.

Image from Ordnance Survey

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