As vehicles become increasingly dependent on computers to operate
integrated systems, from engine timing to anti-lock brakes, it is
crucial to safeguard those systems from outside threats. To investigate
leading-edge technologies and understand and reduce the risk of attack, Southwest
Research Institute (SwRI) is forming the Automotive
Consortium for Embedded Security (ACES).
The joint industry program aims to provide pre-competitive and
non-competitive research in automotive embedded systems security to
protect the safety, reliability, brand image, trade secrets and privacy
of client members' future products. It is open to original equipment
manufacturers and affiliated businesses in the automotive industry.
Companies can join the three-year program at any time by paying the
annual membership fee. The consortium will hold an information exchange
meeting in Sterling Heights, Mich., on Oct. 23. The formal kickoff of
ACES will occur in January or February 2014.
"The automation and connectivity that make automobiles safer, more
efficient and more responsive also expose them to higher risk of
malicious cyber attacks, which could compromise safety and damage an
automaker's reputation," said Mark
Brooks, a senior research engineer in SwRI's Automation
and Data Systems Division. "ACES is looking at emerging research
both in new technologies and new protections for embedded security for
the automotive world."
Embedded systems are processors designed for a specific function within
a larger system, such as the whole automobile. They typically handle a
specific task and have been optimized to reduce size and cost and
increase reliability and performance. Vehicles typically have dozens of
embedded computer systems. "Automobile cyber security is the idea of
protecting the computers that go in a vehicle from hacking, identifying
system bugs that might be on the computers and also protecting the
intellectual property associated with control system software on those
computers," Brooks said.
SwRI has been working with embedded systems security in areas such as
electrical smart grids and residential smart meters, as well as
industrial control systems and distribution centers to help secure those
from attackers and terrorist threats.
The advantage of consortium membership is that the impact of the yearly
contribution is multiplied by the number of participants, providing
substantially more pre-competitive research than would be possible with
funding from a single client. In addition, members will have access to
autoTREAD™ software, a SwRI-developed automotive tool that provides a
framework for analysis and detection of anomalies on the controller area
network (CAN) bus. The Institute also will pursue patents for technology
developed by the ACES program, and participants will receive a
royalty-free license to use the ACES-developed technology.
As an independent R&D laboratory, SwRI has extensive experience in
managing consortia. The ACES consortium will be the seventh automotive
industry-related consortium currently managed by the Institute. For more
information about ACES and to learn more about the Oct. 23 information
exchange, see aces.swri.org
or contact Brooks at (210) 522-3727 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SwRI is an independent, nonprofit, applied research and development
organization based in San Antonio, Texas, with nearly 3,000 employees
and an annual research volume of more than $584 million. Southwest
Research Institute and SwRI are registered marks in the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office. For more information about Southwest Research
Institute, please visit newsroom.swri.org
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