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Seven projects funded to explore CAV security

The winners of the Cyber Securities Feasibility Studies contest, exploring cyber security for self-driving cars, have been revealed

Connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) organisation Zenzic, alongside partners Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), have named seven projects to receive a £1.2m funding pot to explore cyber security in self-driving cars.

The winners of the Cyber Securities Feasibility Studies contest will help define requirements for, and support the development of, security testing capabilities in autonomous vehicles.

The projects will explore ways to measure and maintain cyber resilience and identify vulnerabilities to support the creation of security capabilities, as well as design best practice and lifecycle management; provide specifications to support the creation of new security testing facilities for CAVs; and explore commercial opportunities to develop CAV security services for UK plc.

“The UK has one of the world’s leading cyber resilience industries,” said Richard Porter, technology and innovation director at Zenzic. “We have incredible academic institutions and testing facilities across the country, and have paved the way for cyber security technology development since the birth of the internet.

“With the advent of self-driving vehicles, the complexity of cyber defences will increase as thousands of vehicles, pieces of roadside infrastructure and connecting systems need to share data securely. This is an opportunity for the UK to build on the decades of experience we already have, and once again set the standards for the rest of the world to follow.”

Zenzic’s own UK Connected and Automated Mobility Roadmap – compiled with input from 150 cross-sector organisations – has previously highlighted cyber resilience as one of the most significant technical challenges in making truly self-driving vehicles a reality. Much of this relates to how data will be shared across a highly complex future national infrastructure.

The seven successful projects are: ResiCAV, which will look at real-time monitoring, response, and the requirements for CAV security operations centres (Socs); CAVShield, which will look at the data privacy aspects to develop methods for real-time identification of vulnerabilities in CAV networks; Project Meili, which will define and demonstrate a modular hardware and software platform to test the impact of cooperative, intelligent transport systems on traffic safety; V2X Vulnerability Mapping, which will develop testing methodologies to provide comprehensive technical assessment of cyber risk exposure; PNT Cyber Resilience, which will look into the security of positioning and navigation services; DT-4-CT, which will research security threats to CAV networks and proposes a testing methodology using digital twins to identify them; and BeARCAT, which is exploring the feasibility of a coherent and holistic approach to testing CAV networks.

The projects are backed by various groups, including car makers such as Honda, government bodies, security specialists such as F-Secure, and networking suppliers including BT and Cisco.

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“The connected and self-driving vehicle sector is set to be worth £62bn by 2030, with safer roads and smoother, more accessible journeys for all,” said George Freeman, future of transport minister.

“Whether we are turning cars into Wi-Fi-connected hotspots or equipping them with millions of lines of code, we must consider the new challenges of putting this technology into practice. Today’s £1.2m funding boost will help to guarantee the future safety and security of self-driving vehicles, both in the UK and globally.”

Business minister Nadhim Zahawi added: “Many of the cars on sale today include assistance systems that drivers are familiar with, like cruise control and lane-keeping technology. Future vehicles will be even more advanced. This funding will help ensure this technology is safe and secure, and will grow our status as a global leader in defining the future of mobility and, in particular, connected and autonomous vehicles.”

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